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Lecture 2/27/2020 07:30 PM

Lecture SeriesBetween ruin and splendour: Museums in the last century (1920-2020) (I)The museum as intellectual malaise

María Bolaños

"Pisarro says that we have to burn down the Louvre. He is right… But it should not be done." Cézanne’s confidence is a good summary of the tension and uncertainty that museums have experienced over the last century. Until the twentieth century, the foundations that explained the existence of the museum remained untouchable. But in the wake of World War I, the exhaustion of the encyclopaedic and positivist model became clear, incompatible with an ambition for constant innovation and freshness.

From this standpoint, it could be said that, in these one hundred years, the museum has been an inherently “critical” institution. Barely a generation has gone by without questioning its legitimacy, without believing that the museums of its time were going through a conflict.

But, at the same time, crisis after crisis, the museum has revealed its flexibility and robust nature. It was able to keep its horizons open, maintain a conceptual and practical agility and a capacity to fascinate that have not faded.

This series of three lectures, presented by María Bolaños, Lecturer in Art History at the Universidad de Valladolid and Director of the Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid, will review the history of museums over the last century, since the end of World War I to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

  • Bolaños, M., La memorias del mundo. Cien años de museología, Trea: Gijón, 2002.
  • Jiménez-Blanco, D., Una historia del museo en nueve conceptos, Cátedra: Madrid, 2014.
  • Obrist, H. U., Breve historia del comisariado, Exit: Madrid, 2010.
  • Schubert, K., El museo. Historia de una idea, Turpiana: Granada, 2008.