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MUDEC: New museum of cultures opens its new space in Milan with two exhibitions
A journalist visits the new MUDEC Culture Museum (Museo delle Culture) in Milan, on March 26, 2015 during a press preview on the eve of the museum's opening to the public . AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE.

MILAN.- On 27 March the Museum of Cultures - MUDEC opened its spaces with a preview to speak of the ancient ties Milan has with the Universal Expositions and the cultures of the world through two great shows, “Worlds in Milan” and “Africa”.

The two shows, occupying all the exhibition spaces of the Museum, have been thought up for the occasion of Expo Milan 2015 and promoted by the Municipality of Milan – Culture within the scheme of “Expo in the City” and produced by 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 Ore.

“Africa. The land of the spirits” (27 March – 30 August 2015) is a monumental show dedicated to the art of Africa from Medieval times to the present. With more than 200 items a pathway is offered of works of the cultural and religious tradition of the African continent that runs alongside the masterpieces known to western culture for their aesthetic value, explaining the symbolism and the importance in daily life of the peoples of darkest Africa. Through the halls of the show it will also therefore be possible to discover that African art, wrongly defined as “primitive”, begins life in reality from an idea and formal traditions that are very precise, in a manner that is not very different from what occurs in the ateliers of western artists and the fact that the so-called savages produced art that could speak to the great masters of the avant-garde and so change the history of western art, and that African art had actually been known and sought after for centuries and formed part of the collections of the greatest European courts. The works on show are then re-read within the culture of Africa of life, death, respect for ancestors and divination, explaining that through artistic artefacts the spirits of the earth and the wind are questioned and it is sought to placate the ineffable demons that threaten the life of men and animals.

“Worlds in Milan” (27 March - 19 July 2015) speaks to visitors of how the City welcomed and disseminated to the world at large the various non-European cultures over the course of its most important exhibitions events: from the shows of industrial art in the second half of the 1800s, conceived along the lines of the Universal Exhibitions, until they were reformulated in the Biennials and Triennials of the twenties and thirties of the 1900s. Open until mid-July, the pathway clarifies the link there is between the heritage of the museum and the history of the Great International Exhibitions of the past, but also intends to accompany visitors in discovering the collectors’ taste that has been the second pillar of the patrimony of the civil museums on the theme of Ethnographic Collections.

The Ethnographic Collections of the Municipality of Milan bring together more than 700 works of art, textiles, and tools from all continents and these can be dated back from 1200 BC to the early years of the 1900s; a collection that will be already on view to visitors in the storerooms of the MUDEC after the inauguration of the show thanks to guided tours. In the autumn, once the Expo is over, the museum pathway will be set up in the exhibition halls of the Museum with a selection from the Collections.

Beginning from an operation to recover industrial archaeology in the area of the former Ansaldo plant, in the Tortona zone, the MUDEC, reinterprets the spaces that host it with blocks of squared off shape, clad in zinc and with a structure in crystal – lit around the clock – that “bursts” geometrically upon the building hosting it. The new space sets itself apart for its central hall with a free and organic form that generates an inner courtyard, a covered piazza, a meeting place for cultures and communities.

Within the building, various spaces open up that offer to the visitor and the city a multiplicity of cultural offerings and services, spread over 17,000 sq. mt.: halls of the museum collection and temporary exhibitions, auditoriums; the MUDEC Bistrot, the MUDEC Design Store, the MUDEC Restaurant, teaching classrooms, MUDEC Junior and car park.

With its plurality of functions, the MUDEC seeks to become a reference point in the landscape of Italy for testimony, research and dissemination of the creativity and art of all continents.

MUDEC is innovative also in its management formula: it is indeed the first Italian museum with governance by public/private partnership. The Municipality of Milan fulfils the role of scientific management of the heritage, its cherishing and the coordination of activities of the City World Forum. 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 Ore is responsible for scheduling and realising the great shows of international breadth and the management of additional services of the MUDEC in the various spirits making it up.

The exhibition programme will be enriched by programming side events that will complete the cultural offering. The offer will be rounded off with cafeteria and high quality restaurant services and the Junior Space, an area where children from 4 to 9 years of age can look more deeply into the theme of non-European cultures with creative and multimedia workshops. Finally, the spaces adjacent to the MUDEC, will be the site of the MUDEC Academy which will offer Full and Part Time Masters’ degrees in modules, interactive workshops, evening courses and Events, with special attention given to the sectors of excellences of Made in Italy such as Art & Tourism, Design Digital, Food & Wine and Fashion.

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