portada de BMM

by Joan Clos, Mayor of Barcelona

"Culture, always self-critical, always in debate, is not just the butter on the bread of life; it is the bread itself, and the truth of this has always been recognised in Barcelona." The words are Robert Hughes', from his opening speech for the Mercè festivities, a speech in which he referred to Barcelona as a prime example of what can be accomplished in the fabric of a city through the combination of public funds and individual imagination.

Culture and criticism. Civic-mindedness and constant exigency. Pride in the city and nonconformism. These and other comparable pairs define and explain to a great extent what Barcelona is today and project it towards the immediate future. They are concepts that have been combined successfully, without having to resort to dirigism, but rather with civic leadership and on the basis of dialogue and broadly based complicity.

They are concepts that have taken shape particularly over the past three decades, a period that is present in these pages as a subject for reflection and retrospection, both in the overview of the milestones of cultural activity over the last twenty-five years in Barcelona and in the closing chapter of the review of the century proffered by Josep Maria Huertas and Jaume Fabre.

B.MM. has witnessed, with attention and rigour, a substantial stretch of this history. It has done so since its beginnings in 1986 and during the second phase of its existence that we commenced in March 1995, with an issue dedicated specially to Barcelona's Museu d'Art Contemporani, which had then just opened. And it will continue to do so, with even greater drive and substantial innovations, during its third phase, scheduled to open in January 2001. The magazine will start off the new century and millennium with new sections, even more painstaking documentation and greater emphasis on reflection, debate and opinion. In short, it will take a line concentrating on renovation and momentum aimed at confirming and improving the quality that it has always pursued and the interest that it has always attempted to awaken.

In the interim, until issue number 54 is published, I can unhesitatingly recommend this issue, number 53, and if you will allow me to make a suggestion, particularly the report on urban green zones, an element that points up Barcelona's appreciation for public spaces and one that we must see as the common property of each and every one of our citizens. This is what makes green zones one of the main focal points for our city's efforts, thus enabling it to attract the work of such a leading figure as Enric Miralles, the architect who left us in the prime of his professional life, bequeathing us, among others, the design for the future Diagonal Mar park. The modest homage paid to him in this issue of B.MM. is a debt that we must not, nor would we wish to, neglect.