Curator: Daniel Castillejo
Only the gravity of events can make a museum change its programme. Only the executive decisions that transform our context in any way can legitimise an unexpected reaction. And only the urgent need for empathy, solidarity with life and people can allow us to change course.
Some time ago, a museum used to be a solid institution, very difficult to question, because it was unaffected by the vicissitudes of living beings and of the world itself. In a well-intentioned manner, it complied with its inventorial and conservationist duties in an unrelenting manner, watching over our common artistic heritage, undisturbed by social developments.
But this was also its weakness and the appearance of contemporary art museums provided museums with a new dimension as an institution. The timeframe they focussed upon was the present moment in all our lives.
Even so, the complexity of museum processes, their customary protocols, the extreme care with which they treat their works of art and the discursive treatises they make on these, all of these circumstances continue to impede rapid responses.
But, in the case of the The Gravity of Things, we have made an effort to present a number of the works of our collection with the same urgency and the same internal tension as the MOMA of New York. And this is due only and exclusively to four reasons:
- Firstly, because we are not in agreement either with the changes that are occurring in the lives of many thousands of millions of people.
- Secondly, this is due to a feeling of solidarity with one of the most highly respected museums of contemporary art in the world, which within the United States is exhibiting a favourable stance towards rejected and humiliated individuals.
- Thirdly, because ARTIUM has always had a clear interest in social matters and has always taken an intensively critical attitude to current affairs.
- And, fourthly and lastly, because our collection is sufficiently large to include artists belonging to groups of humans affected by these unjust and intolerable decisions.
Artists: Kcho, Artemio, Shirin Neshat, Siah Armajani, Alfredo Jaar, José Bedia, Regina José Galindo, Miguel Ángel Rios, Thonton Kabeya, Wilfredo Prieto, Akram Zaatari, Emily Jacir, Anibal López, Enrique Chagoya, Rayyane Tabet, Moris
The Gravity of Things is a production by Artium, Basque Museum Centre of Contemporary Art of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava