The Prado bets on contemporary art in 2022 and once again forgets the artists

Pablo Picasso, Fernando Zóbel and Philippe Parreno will be the great bets of the Museo Nacional del Prado for the year 2022. The cubist painter, the abstract painter and the video artist star in the unexpected change of course that the center takes to walk through the grounds of the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, with the excuse of having "trained and inspired numerous contemporary artists". The director of the museum, Miguel Falomir, collects in his sixth season at the head of the institution a line with which his predecessor, Miguel Zugaza, had already entertained. "This is a year in which the Prado's relationship with contemporary art will be emphasized. We are not a contemporary art center, but we are interested in artists who have shown interest in the Prado's collections," Falomir assured the press. . Contrary to what it may seem, the director assures that there are not so many artists who would be included in this group.

Maruja Mallo, who will celebrate her 120th anniversary in 2022, would be part of this curious category, as was recorded in this chapter of the TVE program Look at a painting, in which he says of Goya that "he laminated a society and an era." "It was the precursor of world impressionism. A cult of color, of life, in front of shrouded painting", the artist comments about the painter. However, the artists continue to be conspicuous by their absence in the scientific proposal presented by Miguel Falomir. In spite of have insisted over the last two years In their sensitivity to the recovery of artists ignored in the museum's two centuries of life, in the ten scheduled temporary exhibitions they have no space.

To find an activity that is appreciative of the gender perspective, you have to go down to the museum's "itineraries" program, they are walks through a selection of works to look at the collection from another point of view to the normative one. In them there is one designed by Noelia García Pérez, from the University of Murcia, in which she presents a journey that highlights the role played by female collectors and patrons, promoters of royal collections, such as Isabel la Católica and Isabel Clara Eugenia.

The "megapower"

"The Prado is a megapower in this sense. There are many ways of being a woman in art, such as promoters and collectors. No other museum in the world has this presence," said Falomir. Isn't that reason enough for a temporary exhibition? "When you do something, you always ask for more. Your demands are an incentive for us. We have focused on women, we have already indicated this with Guests, in which we participate in the need to give visibility to women. From this itinerary we will do more things. There are figures that will be the protagonists of upcoming monographs. The idea is that we generate more in the future, "Miguel Falomir has advanced.

The other objective of the year is the reorganization of the permanent collection, of which it has hardly been said that the Ionian galleries will be incorporated to expand the exhibition of the sculpture collections. The director explained that "at the end of the year, the entire collection will have been transformed", but warns that it will not be in all cases "as resounding" as in the rooms of the 19th century. One of the rooms will be dedicated to the Leonardesque artists that the museum has, but it has not detailed if the copy of The Mona Lisa it will be moved to that space.

The rest of the temporary exhibitions will be dedicated to the Marquis de Santillana, Luis Paret, Annibale Carracci and the Spanish artists in Renaissance Naples. Of the ten that will be assembled, only two curators of the museum will be the curators of the exhibitions, something unusual in the Prado.

The money

The director has placed great emphasis on the efforts of the Government of Pedro Sánchez and the Ministry of Culture of Miquel Iceta, for having doubled the amount of the subsidy to the museum. The collapse in the number of visitors has caused a slump in income, says Falomir. Now we have been able to know that in 2020 the museum lost more than they expected, almost 26 million euros. "The Government has taken a step forward and has assumed half of the maintenance. We will contribute the other half. But until 2019 we contributed 65% and the fragility of that model has been seen. The situation of the museum is not so dramatic thanks to the Government ", Falomir wanted to emphasize.

The director also acknowledges that he is currently doing the Hall of Kingdoms accounts. In summer, the structural rehabilitation works will begin, which should last 36 months, "but it is a historic building and perhaps there will be more." The museum will receive 36 million euros from the State in three years for the works. Miguel Famolir has advanced something that was unknown until now: the main room will once again house the works that were made to hang in this space. Although he warns that it will not be a historicist reconstruction, they will recover the original idea with which Felipe IV ordered Juan Bautista Maíno and Diego Velázquez to create the building and its decorative apparatus. The twelve historical-themed paintings that are in the Prado will return to their place, including The site of Bredaby Velázquez. As well as the canvases that represent the ten works of Hercules.

On the upper floor, a completely open-plan room measuring 80 square meters long and almost 18 meters wide, a temporary exhibition hall will be planned. But Falomir brings forward a new issue that so far has not been made public in the debate on the recovery of this building: the high price of maintenance. Keeping the new museum active will cost seven million euros a year. It is approximately the budget that is usually allocated, for example, to the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. How will it be paid? The director of the Prado comments that in the direction they are not clear, because a part opts for the double entry but he is not clear that "it works". They must decide between increasing the price of the general admission or charging another entrance to those who visit the Hall of Kingdoms.


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