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"The Reina Sofía Will No Longer be The Ugly Duckling," Manuel Borja-Villel, New Director
Manuel Borja-Villel, new director of the Reina Sofía Museum.
MADRID, SPAIN.- The Spanish Minister of Culture, César Antonio Molina, presented Manuel Borja-Villel to the Royal Board of the Reina Sofía Museum as its new director.

In an interview with Publico newspaper Manuel Borja-Villel was asked if he would be able to work as freely as he has before. He answered “Yes and no. Let me explain myself. To do exactly the same I did at the MACBA, I should have stayed there. The Reina Sofía should be the guiding museum of Spanish contemporary art. It should be one of the greatest museums next to the Pompidou, MoMA, and Tate. These already have very specific models. We have the advantage that we have everything to do. We can rewrite the history of art in a way which none of them have.”

He was asked why the museum is not one of the top ones. Manuel Borja-Villel answered, “Continuous crisis, water leaks, the Gurnica…and its greatest problem: its identity. What does it want to be? What is its roll? The new museum plan will clear up how we can count on the collection, who we will address and what kind of space we will have. It is a luxury that a city and a museum have three spaces: the Velázquez palace, the Nouvel and Sabatini. And different rhythms: the slow rhythm of the collection and the medium rhythm of temporary exhibitions and the fast rhythm of the activities.”

He was then asked if he would provide the identity to the museum or if not, who would. He answered, “It depends on the museum’s team, who define what the museum wants to say. The identity depends on the museum’s structure and its context.”

He was then asked how the museum could be unique. He answered: “First, in the type of history we tell. The great centers tell the lineal and hegemonic art history, where we are condemned to be a peripheral and provincial place. This history has some dominators and some losers. But this idea does not exist any more.”

He was then asked about education. He answered, “Education also defines. The museum I dream about is a place of knowledge but not a boring one. It is not an exclusive place for the elite. This is the education of emancipation that is not applied but we will. We will have movie, dance, performance programs and conferences. It will be a place where people will go to even thought they will not know what is happening there.”

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February 1, 2008

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