18 May 2021
18 May is International Museum Day, and it will be an opportunity for Italy to celebrate culture, art and, symbolically, its post-Covid rebirth. A rebirth that has already been underway for several weeks and which it is awaited as the beginning of a new renaissance, in line with the theme chosen for this 2021 edition, “The future of museums: Recover and Reimagine “.
The pandemic crisis has hit many sectors hard, and culture has been among the hardest hit by a year and a half of closure, albeit alternating with limited periods of reopening.
The cultural sector has had to reinvent itself, change its prerogatives and rework the way it is perceived, known and enjoyed. And it is from the profound crisis that museums and cultural venues have experienced, and are still experiencing, that new ways of bringing art directly into people’s homes have emerged, maintaining a strong link between community and culture.
This year and a half of pandemic has thrown the 268 national cultural institutions (museums, sites and monuments) into a deep crisis with impressive negative figures. The data published by the Sistan Statistics Office (National Statistical System of the Ministry of Culture) has photographed a situation that has seen a 75% reduction in visitors and almost 80% less income. The regions that paid the highest price for the crisis were Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Apulia, Tuscany and Veneto, which suffered the most from the lockdowns in terms of both visitors and income. However, technology and the new digital avenues have helped to keep cultural institutions and communities in contact with each other. Opening up to a new concept of “museum visitation”, no longer just in presence, but also remotely, has prompted us to rethink our habits, bringing us into an unfamiliar space to which we have had to adapt in order to be reborn and to start again.
A NEW APPROACH
The demand to rework our habits led to the development of a new way of conceiving and experiencing culture, combining health and art. It was precisely on this basis that new technologies, new paths, a new methodological approach and specific initiatives were developed to meet the needs imposed by the pandemic.
Over the years, Tendercapital, through the incubator specialised in scouting and developing original stories now known as Tenderstories, has supported and sustained exhibitions and artists and collaborated with major museums and art galleries with a marked vocation for innovation, capable of intercepting the needs of a constantly changing present.
In fact, the “Post Pandemic Museum” has to explore new avenues in order to continue its mission of dissemination. In the last year and a half, digital channels have been increasingly implemented: online guided tours of a museum or exhibition, thematic days dedicated to an artist or a solo exhibition, but also workshops and training for adults and children, being aware that art needs the physical experience but also knows how to reinvent its horizons of fruition.
Among the institutions with which Tenderstories has collaborated over the years to define innovative and high-profile cultural experiences, we would like to mention some museums that, in this period of extreme difficulty, have dynamically and innovatively reworked their cultural offer to guarantee access to art.
This is the case of the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC), which intensified its digital activities by expanding its online offer with dedicated YouTube channels and focusing on social media. The Poldi Pezzoli Museum has reworked the in-person guided tour with a series of educational and cultural activities in streaming or on social networks, dedicating a specific channel just for young people. Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice has launched a series of online activities such as the SabatoInMostra initiative, in which every week the museum’s curator talks about the current exhibition, while during the pandemic Palazzo Grassi has developed its social side by enhancing it and turning it into a place for analysis and interactive debate, as happened on the occasion of the Bruce Nauman exhibition, where conversations with artists about his work and poetics were presented. And do not forget the Serpentine Gallery in London and LACMA in Los Angeles, two cultural spaces that have invested in interactivity, social networks and their interconnection, becoming true “cultural hubs” that have brought the beauty of art into homes, tablets and smartphones.