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THE MIRĶ FOUNDATION DRIVING FORCE
by Pilar Parcerisas

The Joan Miró Foundation, a bequest left by the painter to the city of Barcelona, is built on the hillside of Montjuic. But this art centre is much more than a showcase for Miró's works. It has acted as a veritable artistic driving force. The Foundation has provided an impeccable setting for the exhibition of contemporary art works of the highest standard as well as for the first public presentation of novel trends and creators.
The Miró Foundation was set up as a result of an increasingly strong current of recognition of Joan Miró's place within the sphere of painting among the people of Barcelona. When the Miró Foundation was officially opened in Barcelona in 1975, it was considered to be, as an institution, the city's great hope to resume a normal relationship with the avant-garde of international art. In effect, in the art world, Joan Miró was a living avant-garde. As a result, at the beginning of the post-francoist era, the name of the Joan Miró Foundation became a major point of reference that manifested the city's renewed commitment to artistic contemporaneity. However, over the years, the Miró Foundation has not often performed the function inherent to its whole name, i.e. CEAC, " Centre d'Estudis d'Art Contemporani" (Centre of Contemporary Art Studies) and it has gradually become a kind of Joan Miró Museum through enlarging its art collection with a series of works by friends of Miró's in homage to the painter and exhibiting more paintings and drawings by Joan Miró himself, either purchased or obtained on loan from different private collections, thus undoubtedly contributing to the diffusion of Joan Miró's works and facilitating in-depth analysis and research on his peculiar oeuvre. The touristy environment of post-Olympics Barcelona brought more and more visitors flooding into the Joan Miró Foundation. However, as a result of this recurrent invasion of tourists, the Foundation has lost some of its intimate atmosphere and of its privileged relationship with the city and its artistic sector. It appears to operate more as a kind of "Souvenir Foundation" that mainly lives off its own history, so that the debates expressing the city's artistic ambitions have moved to other settings now that, thanks to the present availability of an unprecedented range of museums and art centres, the art situation widely differs from that of the the nineteen seventies, a time when the Miró Foundation was required to play a major role and make up for the lack of art-fostering action during the long post-war period. In any event, the Joan Miró Foundation continues to be a vitally important institution in terms of strengthening Barcelona's presence within the international art community, and its chosen option - i.e. to build up an art collection centred on the works and name of Joan Miró - is now starting to take a more consistent shape and to yield positive results, more especially with the recent contribution from Kazumasa Katsuta who agreed to loan important pieces from his Japonese collection to be displayed at the centenary exhibition.