A market for museums or the path followed by a modern art collection. Buenos Aires 1956-1960
Talia Bermejo (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET))
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses the partnership between museum and market focusing on the points of contact and exchange in the validation processes of contemporary art in both symbolic and monetary terms, and their consequences in the subsequent formation of the institution's art collection.
Paper long abstract:
The Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires opened in April 1956. Under the direction of Argentine critic Rafael Squirru, the country thus witnessed the creation of the firstsuch institution. Nevertheless, the museum had no home, no patrimony and just a meagre budget. In fact, the institutional collection took shapeover several years, and only had its own space thirty years later. This paper seeks to analyse the first actions in an institutional narrative starting with articulation with other facets of art and, particularly, with the art market. I shall discuss key strategies, such as partnerships with certain commercial galleries that operated as alternative spaces for art exhibitions in the period from the opening of the museum to the inauguration of its first home in 1960. This partnership with several prestigious art dealers in the city not only focused attention on the museum, but also opened a channel through which to set artistic and commercial values in a kind of agreement between the institution and market actors. This occurred in an expanding local market, meaning that the practices employed by the museum to evolve in a context of adversity (no fixed home, budget or patrimony) were additional to contemporary artistic circulation. Using that ad hoc partnership as a basis, I intend to analyse points of contact and exchange in the validation processes of contemporaryart in both symbolic and monetary terms, and their consequences in the subsequent formation of the institution's artcollection.
Collections as Currency? Objects, Exchange, Values and Institutions