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Editorial

Tense calm: the fit or not of Borja-Villel in the Catalan heritage ecosystem

Instal.lació 'Aeronàutica interior', de Francesc Torres a la sala principal del MNAC. Fotografia. EUROPA PRESS
Tense calm: the fit or not of Borja-Villel in the Catalan heritage ecosystem

The presentation weeks ago at the Palau Moja in Barcelona of the new star signing of the Department of Culture of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Manuel Borja-Villel (Burriana, 1955) - former director of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the MACBA in Barcelona and the Foundation Tàpies-, has not calmed the malaise that is latent in the Catalan museum facilities, as well as in many cultural articulators in the country who do not yet fully understand neither the function they will carry out, nor the high salary (three years , at ninety thousand euros per year) without prior competition, of a person whose merits, nor career, but his fit and suitability at the current moment. A golden retirement for some, a folly for others, a media signing for others, a breath of fresh air for a few, an unknown for many. Neither did Villel's various statements in the interview he published in La Vanguardia , which demonstrated a complete ignorance of the specific dynamics of the sector in Catalonia, as well as of the Generalitat's master plan for museums approved a few years ago with a wide consensus, as well as the work of many of the top managers of Catalan equipment. No one will deny the administration's laxity, but that does not mean the huge task that the sector has been doing for some time to move forward despite these obstacles and a clear invisibility of this effort. One person can help shake things up, all right, but will it solve the complex red tape, understaffing and low visibility? I doubt it under these conditions and in this context, apart from the fact that there are areas that belong to the Parliament of Catalonia or the Congress of Deputies with patronage laws to promote the arrival of money and administrative simplification, so as not to martyr more technicians, managers and artists. On the other hand, he leaves it messianic as it has been presented to Borja-Villel to help, for example, the MNAC to rethink, when it has been preparing a master plan for some time with the complicity of many people and in a choral way, it has still surprised more at own and strangers. Apart from the moral blow it has meant for Pepe Serra's team and for the director himself, who has had to face it with resignation and stoicism. And more, when Serra was renovated relatively recently. If it was not wanted, perhaps it was necessary to make it clear at the time of calling the competition - some voices made it clear.

The Department of Culture, which has had actions of interest during the legislature and which must be valued, here has had to make a signing that many say came from the interest of the current Secretary of State for Culture . of Catalonia bought the gift that came from Madrid. Rumorology says this, it is not outside of logic, but what is clear is that you cannot sell this message and this incorporation in this way. Nor can it be sold that Borja has never been wanted in Madrid, when he has spent fifteen years doing what he wanted in the highest equipment of the Spanish state, more than any other director, despite the fact that I don't know how to direct that liner yes it has ended up sucking his energies - maybe with the first five years he would have had enough. We know that at the Fundació Tàpies he did a brilliant job and at the MACBA he reached his highest level - the stage in Madrid generates more doubts - but yes, often leaving some important Catalan creators a little aside, although it is true which promoted a few local authors such as Carlos Pazos or Ignasi Aballí, among others. And I still remember when the Coderch fund, which the Generalitat had set aside, was taken away with a checkbook through the Reina Sofía Museum. Therefore, clear and obscure from an experienced man, who does not know where he should fit in, while the national museums continue to be underfunded and no one has this real problem either cold or hot as in the case of the Archeology Museum of Catalonia (MAC) or the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (MNACTEC). And it is not due to a lack of drive or ideas from its directors and the various articulating agents, but rather due to an erratic policy from decades ago that is being tried to be resolved as best it can, a lack of global sector consensus, a lack of an executed budget - not the one that comes out in the big numbers at the beginning of the legislature - and a very, very serious problem of administrative "bureaucracy" that prevents those inside the administration and those outside from being agile . And for me this last point is nuclear and is not being addressed. It is not a problem of Culture but of the entire set of councils and ministries: they are almost paralyzing the country or, at the very least, slowing it down in a desperate way. So, there is work to be done, like fixing the Visual Arts Plan in Catalonia that we spend the day making and redoing and not quite implementing, or the Photography Plan that makes no sense that works alongside Visual Arts - Mascarell era. Finally, if anyone wants to know more about Borja-Villel's involvement, I invite them to read, if they haven't already done so, the text of the experienced and seasoned journalist Mercè Ibarz in Vilaweb .

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