The revolution in Catalan cultural institutions

"Return of the Junke", instal·lació de Josep Maynou i Jordi Mitjà a la galeria Bombon Projects
The revolution in Catalan cultural institutions
Ricard Planas Camps - 16/04/22

Basically changes, many changes and sometimes we don't know if for better or for worse. Time will tell !!! The first was the early retirement, a bit of a surprise, at the beginning of the year for the director of the Catalan Heritage Agency, Josep Manuel Rueda. A man with an extraordinary resume and who has played many roles in the auca of the Department of Culture. He will be missed for common sense, in addition to institutional and country commitment. An outing that should be taken advantage of to think of an advisory committee of seniors with baggage to help the Department of Culture on a permanent basis. We should not waste this knowledge, especially when the directors are ephemeral and it is very complex to consolidate programs. Therefore, it is the positions of knowledgeable officials that end up leading the day to day. With her retirement, the management of the Catalan Agency has not been covered to bring together in one person the management of Heritage and the Agency, until recently by Elsa Ibar, also relieved a few days ago, something that he had been waiting for months; discuss it later. Trying to unify agency and management into one person has been the resource that all directors have chosen to streamline operations. Although the Rueda-Ibar duo, despite the differences that always exist, had worked well because they were two people who know what they are doing. Perhaps he had started squeaking when the political guidelines had not sufficiently clarified or directed the scenario. The ministry has managed these transitions quite precariously.

The retirement of Josep Manuel Rueda, however, was in parallel with the announcement of the vacant manager position that had been vacant for years at the Catalan Heritage Agency. The winner, a good professional: Josep Maria Carreté, former manager of the MNAC, also former director of Heritage of the Generalitat -the house is well known- leaves the MACBA with the arrival of a director who wants to revolutionize everything. This can be positive or negative. We will know soon. Elvira Dyangani Ose, the new director of the MACBA, had already met with the dismissal of the chief curator, Tanya Barson, and the head of public programs, Pablo Martínez. adds a new one: management. But we continue with Carreté, who arrives at a known Department. The only thing that leaves doubts is the dismissal of Elsa Ibar, director general of heritage, we know that she was not from the same political party that runs the ministry. Total, that the new relief to the general direction of Patrimony is Sònia Hernandez, ex-director of the Museum of Waters, a person not accustomed to a general direction like this and that under its responsibility will have three ex-general directors: Josep Maria Carreté, Elsa Ibar and Jùsep Boya, the latter was the architect of the department's museum plan and is currently the director of the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia. It can be an opportunity to know how to delegate with people who know a lot and also a lot of responsibility to see if he will have the ability to handle the position with solvency. Again time will serve as a thermometer. Meanwhile, Magda Gassó, head of museums, is also looking forward to retirement. A whole generational change, logical, but respectful.

Meanwhile, we have also received with uncertainty the early retirement of Conxita Oliver, head of the Area of Dissemination and Artistic Cooperation, who knows, appreciates and defended the plastic and visual arts sector. The person who runs this area does not see him as particularly prone to strengthening a sector that is very thin and always ends up being the poor little sister. We have a Visual Arts Plan that at the moment I think only has Marta Gustà as the maximum endorser and it has to do it from the ICEC (Catalan Institute of Cultural Companies). But, in addition, we also have the departure of Àngels Solé from the management of the Center for the Restoration of Movable Property of the Generalitat, which had already announced to the former councilor Àngels Ponsa, however, for loyalty had not activated until a few months ago. Now, this relief provokes in the sector a cry of vindication so that the new direction is represented by a person of the sector. Àngels Solé was a historian, she had worked to claim this national center, always with insufficient resources. Now he has decided to leave. And the last of the dismissals was that of the territorial delegates of culture throughout the geography. Àngel Torras's in Barcelona or Carme Renedo's in Girona, for example, are empty because they are people who knew the cultural sector very well. The visual arts sector is especially affected, as Àngels Torras knows about the sector and loves it, currently working at the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Territorial delegates who have been replaced by professionals from the education sector. I guess, now I would like to be cynical, that the arts forum in education promoted by Conca and the hyperactive Vinyet Panyella has set the course. We need to educate the grassroots to get cultural citizens. Rather than talking about "audiences", what we need are trained citizens, committed to culture, society and the country.

The last of the major renovations is that of Eva Sòria, head of the Department of Innovation, Knowledge and Visual Arts at the Institut de Cultura in Barcelona. We are talking about one of the most important areas of Barcelona City Council in cultural matters, where educational issues, creative centers hang ... Eva Soria has a background, enthusiasm and desire, but it is a macro area that can surpass any. Hopefully not! This has also led to a reorganization of the Institut Ramon Llull, Creation area, which is where Eva Soria came from. Maria Lladó takes the lead and her job is doubled, despite the fact that they had been in a duet with Soria for some time. Meanwhile, Maite Esteve is doing a good job with the law of patronage at the Fundació Catalunya Cultura, replacing Gemma Sendra a few years ago who ended up as a councilor in Barcelona City Council. Pau Mas also promotes the Maragall legacy to the Fundació Catalunya Europa. And with all this, his friend José Ángel Montañés, the journalist and historian of El País, has also retired. A new cycle that goes on. We will be watching how it all evolves.

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