If the Marxist historian Eric J. Hobsbawm postulated that the 20th century ended in 1991, with the implosion of the Soviet Union, the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM) place that end two years before. Not only because in 1989 there was a series of well-known events that changed the face of history, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall or the velvet revolution of Czechoslovakia, but also because of the consequences of the pandemic and demonization of the socio-cultural world. AIDS or the introduction into the debate of multiculturalism. But, also, in that year of the fatwaof Khomeini against Salman Rushdie there was another fact that, in a different dimension, marked a milestone in the artistic life of Spain: the opening of the IVAM.
It was the first museum of decentralized contemporary art in a country that had emerged from the dictatorship and wanted to be as modern as those in its European environment. And it was not a media building, with little content or project, as happened with other centers, but a sober container that had a plan of use, with talented professionals, an incipient collection and a rigorous programming that very soon became a reference beyond the national artistic field.
For all that, the IVAM has now organized two exhibitions in the framework of its 30th anniversary, which will be fulfilled next month (opened on February 18, 1989). On the one hand, 1989. The end of the 20th century It contextualizes his birth through 200 works from several national and international collections that year made by almost 80 creators. Some did not have time to record what was still to happen, although they acted as visionaries; others reflected the tragedy of AIDS, such as the photographer Nan Goldin and her series about Cookie Mueller and her partner Vittorio Scarpati (of whom drawings are also shown), both sick and deceased; or the discrimination of women, such as the Guerrilla Girls, who launched their famous campaign about the massive presence of female nudes: it was 85% at the Metropolitan in New York when only 5% of the artists that exhibited were women. "In some cases, even, the situation has worsened," said Sergio Rubira, curator of the exhibition, along with Sandra Moros. Sophie Calle, Mona Hatoum, Marin Kippenberger, William Kentrigde or Rogelio López Cuenca are also represented in a sample that alludes to another.
To the very influential exhibition Magiciens de la terre, of the Pompidou Museum in Paris, also in 1989. He intended to respond to postcolonial society through multiculturalism, but ended up falling into some of the topics he criticized, such as the division between Western and non-Western artists, according to the curators. In any case, he knew how to integrate other visions that were "ignored" until then,
The idea of the passage of time, of the change of cycle, is very present in the watches of Artschwager and Alighiero & Boetti or in the still life of roses of James Lee Byars that will go away withering while the sample extends until May 19.
On the other hand, the second, smaller, cabinet exhibition is titled Case study: 1989. IVAM (until June 10) and review the origin of the museum, with artistic, photographic and documentary material, giving prominence to the first directors, Tomàs Llorens, Carmen Alborch and José Francisco Ivars; the politician who promoted him, Ciprià Ciscar, and his first artistic director, Vicent Todolí, among others.
Its opening was supported by "very significant" from large cultural layers of the country, because that "was not so easy or so simple." It was one of the few museums that opened with a "very solid collection" project, said the director of IVAM, José Miguel Cortés, who recalled that he did not participate in its foundation. This sample also shows some of the first purchases: a klee, a miralles, a juliogonzález (on whose sculptural work the collection was built), a saura…
"The truth is that it was a very exciting moment. Everyone came and worked naturally with artists like these, "said Teresa Millet, curator of the IVAM, while pointing to the photographs that portray John Baldessari, Claes Oldenburg, Kirkely, Pierre Soulages or Eduardo Arroyo. Times of glory of a museum that struggles to bury its black decade, from 2004 to 2014, under the direction of Consuelo Ciscar, today investigated with her artist son and some of her closest collaborators by the alleged crimes of embezzlement, trespass and documentary falsification, among others, committed during his administration. It is the other case study of the IVAM, which still instructs a Valencian court.