I am writing this text outside of São Paulo, where I am experiencing the pandemic, a little taken aback by the images on social media of the reopening of art institutions in the capital.
Many artists, intellectuals, curators and even gallery owners have written in recent months that after that moment the art system would need to change, that the time had come to slow down the circuit, that it was time to pay attention to new questions that were imposed within the context of crisis. sanitary.
In the images I see, nothing has changed. Here are the shows that were in the process of being assembled in March, on the eve of the opening of the fair. SP-Art, an inflection point in the calendar of museums and galleries, when the trend towards spectacle and opulence usually grows without itch.
Seven months have passed and my question is: does it make sense to reopen museums without some kind of reflection on this forced pause? After all, during this period no less than 150 deaths occurred and continue to occur in the country due to the lack of a sensible government, the Amazon and the Pantanal are in the process of destruction, black men and women are being brutally murdered and forceful demonstrations are being held around the world. , and fascism grows in popularity in the country.
In this context, do art institutions reopen as if nothing was happening and keep the same schedule as in March 2020? These seven months have passed us by like years and their consequences are still difficult to predict, but beyond the obvious care with hygiene and ways to avoid contamination, these institutions can't go beyond "the show must go on"?
Friends who went to see the exhibitions on display testified that there is no – whether at the Pinacoteca, the Museu de Arte Moderna de SP or the MASP, for example – any kind of position on the current moment. Has the logic of the white cube, which isolated the exhibition space from the surrounding world, now been incorporated as an institutional policy of denial of context?
During the VI International Seminar which ARTE!Brasileiros organized in early October, fully thinking about the urgent issues of this difficult time, Ailton Krenak went straight to the art circuit: “It is as if the idea of our art biennials, of our galleries were all left in the past, expired by time, by the urgency of a new mentality, for us humans to learn to tread carefully, to tread gently on the Earth deeply marked by our footprints, which put us on the threshold of this Anthropocene.”
Where is the sensitivity of the managements of these museums to face a new mentality?