The intention and task of MUARCO is to question the current and future contemporary role of the museum as an institution for the preservation and dissemination of culture in a society and to offer new impulses to formulate adequate answers.
While the mobility of the people involved within these institutions is limited and subject to many regulations, art can (almost) ask questions and, above all, try things out.
If the museum, created from the cabinets of the nobles and their collections of curiosities, was an expression of power, success, internationality and an expression of cultural dominance, this role also migrated from the hands of the old elites into the hands of the bourgeoisie, which increasingly assumed sovereignty wanted to achieve and manifest via the definition of the respective culture. It quickly became clear that this institution is also wonderfully suited to promoting one’s own private interests.
The commercialization of art was also due to the pressure on the churches to find new ways of refinancing status symbols such as monastery and church buildings. The market redistributed art, from the bishop to the merchant, to the benefit of the dealer in between. The museum became a tool of navigation to early identify the valuable work potentially experiencing price increases and to share in the profits in anticipation of success.
The lavish budgets of museum landscapes are being cut more and more, analogous to the temples of education (universities). If academics now have to prostitute themselves on the way to a professorship by collecting donations from industry, the narrow budgets of the museums also require the development of new sources of money. What could be more obvious than the art market. The revolving door of increasing value in the museum is driven by art criticism, institutional collectors and investors. For the one percent at the top, this door is turning faster and faster, with auction houses playing their part as a continuous flow heater. For the majority of artists, this world remains closed and inaccessible, for good reason: the chance of economic success lies in minimizing the audited offer alone. The communication of the previous change of ownership, which is virtually glued to the work of art, is far too good a resource not to be recycled over and over again in the further increase in value. This decouples these apparently safe values from the rest of the market. And the whole thing no longer has anything to do with the culture of a society and the artists active in it.
This creates a gap that is steadily growing. The citizen in the middle of his society is missing something. The same works that are brought out again and again in ever new combinations and subsumed under ever more daring themes are tiring and boring. The static accessories of the lower valued art works in the presentation do not provide any relief.
So where should the journey go? What is contemporary about a contemporary museum today? How does it redefine its justification for existence and economic subsistence?
MUARCO offers an approach. The museum is transformed from a static place of passive contemplation of a preconceived notion of the value and interpretation of a work of art to a dynamic place of diversity and of constant reinterpretation of the work in the context of current events. It can also be sorted out and discarded. Many other roles were also associated with the establishment of the museum as an institution: art critic, curator, museum management, sponsor, artist.
In a reinvented museum, these roles are falling into the hands of everyone who enters the museum. The generalization of doing becomes a social act.
Let’s expand on Beuys: Everyone can be an artist. Yes! Anyone can also be a curator, sponsor, museum director, and art critic, and each person should empower themselves to do so.
In autumn 2022, MUARCO was invited to receive its guests in the LaJoya Art Space in collaboration with DeSouza Gallery London. As part of a group exhibition of international artists, the visitors were confronted with the chance to become active themselves and create their own works on the theme of the exhibition Relicts of the futures past, to curate them themselves and to determine their position in the exhibition and to sponsor another work to donate to the MUARCO project.
Over the course of the exhibition, many visitors have seized this opportunity and given shape to their own views of contemporary art.
In this way, the museum not only became a temple of self-empowerment, it also became the subject and place of dialogue. This social togetherness is of particular importance in contemporary times.
As part of the exhibition, high school students from Greece were invited to take part in this project. With the commitment of a teacher and the support of the school management, more than 30 students submitted their own small works to Spain.
The subject of the exhibition in the gallery in Valencia was the Relicts of the futures past, the subject of MUARCO was the (adequate) symbols in the caves of the future. The inspiration of the young artists from Greece was great. Therir contribution was important. It has shown that a truly contemporary museum can unleash a power that goes well beyond buying a ticket.
And the museum becomes a kind of culture factory. The newly created works, in dialogue with those originally offered, have found their way onto the art market. As part of the Artsurprise project, they will be offered in a special edition and travel all over the world. And so new sources of power are tapped that allow a project like MUARCO to continue asking the question: What is a contemporary art museum?