– Summer 2013

A Critical Approach to the Project ‘Desacuerdos’

Valentín Roma

Tags: Isidoro Valcarcel Medina

In the early 2000s, particularly in Europe and Latin America, radically different ways of understanding the public function of cultural institutions and their imaginaries begin to emerge. From a theoretical perspective, this is framed by the development of New Institutionalism,1 which in Spain would lead to somewhat radical breaks: while most institutions sought to maintain the status quo, a handful of institutions and researchers attempted to challenge the historiographical assumptions upon which the hegemonic discourse on art and culture was based.

Looking back upon the programming of Spanish institutions over these years, it is not difficult to discern a clear typological index, in which the remit of institutions, their role in the construction of discourse and even their media coverage are in direct relationship to their budgetary scale and financial model. Thus, museums with arthistorical programmes reinforced regional formulae, insisting on a specific kind of revisionist project focused on the hallowed myth of the original creator — for instance, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid organized several solo exhibitions between 2001 and 2006, featuring, amongst others, Rafael Canogar, Luis Feito, Pablo Palazuelo, Gerardo Rueda and Manolo Valdés. Likewise, regional public institutions such as the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) in Santiago de Compostela, Artium in Vitoria- Gasteiz and the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, presented international artist retrospectives — of Markus Lüpertz, Richard Tuttle, Enzo Cucchi, Georg Baselitz and Jiri Georg Dokoupil, amongst many others — which suggested an attempt to reinstate 1980s expressionism. Privately funded collections, such as Patio Herreriano in

  1. See Andrea Fraser, ‘From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique’, Artforum, vol.49, no.1, September 2005, pp.278—83.

  2. For instance, ‘Cuatro dimensiones: Escultura en España, 1978—2003’ (‘Four Dimensions: Sculpture in Spain, 1978—2003’, 2003—04), at Museo Patio Herreriano de Valladolid, and ‘20 años de coleccionismo: una visión de futuro’ (‘20 Years of Collecting: A Vision of the Future’, 2005), at CaixaForum Barcelona and the Centro Social y Cultural de la Fundación ‘la Caixa’ in Palma de Mallorca.

  3. In 2011 the MNCARS in Madrid joined the ongoing editorial project, and in 2012 Arteleku stopped contributing to it, which changed the original geographic distribution.

  4. Following Franco’s death in 1975, a democratic constitution was approved in 1976 by universal suffrage.

  5. Jacques Rànciere, La Mésentente. Politique et philosophie, Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1995

  6. For a complete list of the project’s participants, see Desacuerdos 1 and Desacuerdos 2 (San Sebastián/ Donostia, Granada, Barcelona and Seville: Arteleku, Centro José Guerrero, MACBA and UNIA, 2004—05).

  7. See http://old.arteleku.net/vieja//desacuerdos/index.jsp?ID=163 (last accessed on 7 March 2013).

  8. See José Díaz Cuyás and Carmen Pardo, ‘Pamplona era una fiesta: tragicomedia del arte español’ (‘Pamplona Was a Party: The Tragicomedy of Spanish Art’), Desacuerdos 1, op. cit., pp.17—73; Jorge Luis Marzo, ‘Política cultural del gobierno español en el exterior’ (‘Cultural Policy of the Spanish Government Abroad’), in Desacuerdos 2, op. cit., pp.57—121; and Jesús Carrillo, ‘Aleph, la web como espacio de acción paralela’ (‘Aleph, the Internet as a Space for Parallel Action’), in Desacuerdos 2, op. cit., pp.123 43.

  9. The exhibition at MACBA was held from 4 March until 29 May 2005, and the one at the Centro José Guerrero from 9 March until 29 May 2005.

  10. As of number 6, Arteleku ceased its contribution to the project; MNCARS joined the project with number 7. Digital versions of all the publications are available at http://www.macba.cat/es/desacuerdos (last accessed on 2 April 2013).

  11. For instance, ‘Arte en Olot durante el franquismo y la transición a la monarquía parlamentaria’ (‘Art in Olot under Franco and the Transición to Parliamentary Monarchy’, 29 April—16 July 2006), an exhibition curated by Albert Batlle and Narcís Selles at the Museu Comarcal de la Garrotxa, Olot; and ‘Laboratorios 70: Poéticas/políticas y crisis de la modernidad en el contexto vasco de los setenta’ (‘Laboratories 70: Poetics/Politics and the Crisis of Modernity in the 1970s Basque Context, 14 May— 6 September 2009), a project by Fernando Golvano at Sala Rekalde, Bilbao.

  12. An example of the former is ‘Fuera de catálogo: Arte de acción en Andalucía’ (‘Off-Catalogue: Action Art in Andalucía’, 18 April—18 June 2006), organised by the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo; and of the latter, ‘El arte sucede: Origen de las prácticas conceptuales en España (1965—1980)’ (‘Art Happens: Origin of Conceptual Practices in Spain (1965—1980)’, 11 October 2005—9 January 2006), at the MNCARS.

  13. For example, budget cuts have meant sudden changes in the orientation and direction of art centres such as Sala Rekalde, Bilbao; the Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria; and La Virreina — Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona.

  14. José Díaz Cuyás initiated this project as a researcher involved in ‘Desacuerdos’. The exhibition was held at MNCARS from 28 October 2009 until 22 February 2010. See Encuentros de Pamplona 1972: fin de fiesta del arte experimental (exh. cat.), Madrid: MNCARS, 2009.

  15. Pedro G. Romero contributed to the curatorial direction of ‘Desacuerdos’ on behalf of UNIA arteypensamiento. The exhibition was held at La Virreina — Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona, from 26 March until 24 May 2010; and at the Centro Cultural Montehermoso in Vitoria, from 19 October 2011 until 15 January 2012. See Ocaña: 1973—1983: Acciones, actuaciones, activismo (exh. cat.), Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2011.

  16. Red Conceptualismos del Sur, ‘Manifiesto instituyente’ (‘Instituting Manifesto’), available at http://www.museoreinasofia.es/redes/presentacion/conceptualismos-del-sur_en.html (last accessed on 8 March 2013).

  17. Examples of such accounts include the seminal exhibition ‘Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s—1980s’, organised by the Queens Museum of Art, New York (28 April—29 August 1999); the schematically forward-looking publication Copiar el Edén: arte reciente en Chile (ed. Gerardo Mosquera, Santiago: Tomás Andreu y Claudia Pertuzé Ediciones and Publicaciones Puro, 2006); and Olivier Debroise and Cuauhtémoc Medina’s exhibition ‘La era de la discrepancia: Arte y cultura visual en México 1968—1997’ (‘The Age of Discrepancies: Art and Visual Culture in Mexico, 1968— 1997’, Museo Universitario de las Artes y las Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 17 March—30 September 2007).

  18. See http://www.museoreinasofia.es/redes/presentacion/conceptualismos-del-sur/conceptualismosmuseo_ en.html (last accessed on 8 March 2013).

  19. See http://internacionala.mg-lj.si/index.php (last accessed on 8 March 2013).