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Argentinean Ferran Barenblit chosen as new director of Barcelona's Contemporary Art Museum MACBA

Barcelona's Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA) is entering a new period, under the leadership of Ferran Barenblit, born in Buenos Aires in 1968. The international competition opened to choose MACBA's new director has resulted in the hiring of Barenblit, who until the present day was Director of Madrid's CA2M Art Centre. Previously, the Argentinean manager had been Director of Barcelona’s Santa Mónica Art Centre (from 2003 to 2008). The MACBA opened a public competition in March, after the previous Director, Bartomeu Marí, resigned in the wake of the great controversy surrounding the last-minute cancellation of a temporary exhibition because one of the sculptures depicted the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, being sodomised by a dog. The sculpture had been designed by the Austrian artist Ines Doujak. Marí decided to cancel the opening, provoking loud protests from curators and a significant public controversy, with accusations of censorship being aimed at the director.

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25 July 2015 08:17 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- One of the main Catalan museums, the Barcelona's Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA), is entering a new period, under the leadership of Ferran Barenblit, born in Buenos Aires in 1968. The international competition opened to choose MACBA's new director has resulted in the hiring of Barenblit, who from 2008 until the present day was Director of Madrid's CA2M Art Centre, in Móstoles. Previously, the Argentinean manager had been Director of Barcelona’s Santa Mónica Art Centre (between 2003 and 2008), from which he left after a controversy involving the Catalan Government, run at that time by a left-wing three-party coalition.


The MACBA opened a public competition in March, when the previous Director, Bartomeu Marí, resigned in the wake of the great controversy surrounding the last-minute cancellation of a temporary exhibition because one of the sculptures depicted a man who looked like the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, being sodomised by an old lady and a dog. The sculpture had been designed by the Austrian artist Ines Doujak. Marí decided to cancel the exhibition the day before the opening, provoking loud protests from curators and a significant public controversy, with accusations of censorship being aimed at the director for attacking freedom of expression and artistic freedom. The Catalan Government did not back Marí, nor did the City Council of Barcelona or significant artists, and in the end, the MACBA Director tendered his resignation and the international process to choose a new director was launched.

The Catalan Minister of Culture, Ferran Mascarell made the official announcement of Barenblit’s appointment on Friday. Mascarell stated that the expert committee who selected the Argentinean manager had emphasised \"the solvency of his academic and professional education; the knowledge, assessment and precise and realistic and enthusiastic diagnosis of the institution's situation; the success in presenting a rigorous, precise and clear project in all the museum's areas, and the positive assessment of his professional experience, as well as his vision for the MACBA within the Catalan and Barcelonan contemporary art system\". He also praised the new director's plan to better fit the museum into the Raval neighbourhood. For all these reasons, Mascarell said that Barenblit's overall project is \"thrilling\".

Barenblit stated that he is \"before a challenge\" that he will face \"with great excitement\". \"I'm not here to break anything but to transform things\", he stated. In fact, he underlined that he plans to build his project on the museum's current situation and recognition. The new director read a paragraph of his project, in which he stated that “the museum has to be, above all, a public service that reflects and launches a critical and diverse culture in the city\". \"We are in a moment to generate narrations, addressed to the local and global audiences, because the MACBA has to continue being a strong voice at international level\", he stressed.

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