Friday, March 27, 2015

MUDEC, FINALLY! Milan salutes the new Museum of Cultures

Museum indoor square @PHOTO OskarDaRiz

Welcome, Mudec! Expected for months, if not decades, since yesterday the new Museum of Cultures in Milan is finally a fact. Although interior works still need a few weeks to be completed, conversion of the former industrial spaces Ansaldo has succeeded perfectly: thanks to an operation of archaeological reconversion commissioned by the city as far back as 1990, and supported by important partnerships such as those with AtmTrenitalia and Coop, the nearly 17 thousand square meters of buildings in Via Tortona 56 appear today in avant-guard  shapes, coated with zinc and above which stands a glass structure illuminated by Zumtobel's sophisticated techniques: thanks to daylight that penetrates the central atrium, the heart of the museum is crossed by a vertical natural line, kept alive at night through the use of dimmer spotlights. Otherwise: the light of culture can’t ever go out. With more than 7 thousand art-works available, from every corner of the world and spread over a period between 1200 BC and the twentieth century, Mudec is in running not simply as the museum-to-be for Expo2015, but as a new European center for ethnographic research, adding value to an heritage of Italian collections poorly considered till today.

Exposition - Africa, land of spirits

Marina Pugliese, director Modern and Contemporary Art Milan network

"If today Milan has its own ethnographic museum - said Marina Pugliese, director of the Modern and Contemporary Art Network in Milan - a thought and a special thanks go no doubt to Salvatore Carubba, first council member to have started the project 12 years ago, of course together with all those who made possible this wonderful result. We are the only Italian museum based on a dual public-private management, since the city is responsible for the scientific management of the assets, as well as coordinating the activities of the World City Forum, while "24 ore Cultura", a branch of Gruppo 24 Ore, is responsible for the programming, as well as all the additional museum services”.

Mudec outdoor view @PHOTO OskarDaRiz

Thanks to a collaboration with the Tropen Museum Junior in Amsterdam, from October Mudec will have a section of learning and interaction for the little ones, or Junior area, while the agreement signed with Città Mondo (World City) will launch initiatives closely with the needs of about 500 associations of foreign communities living in Milan: 115 sqm are addressed them to propose working tables, in addition to other 137 sqm as "multitask space" for experimental intercultural activities and "parallel diplomacy". Visitors can also enjoy a public library with more than 4 thousand specialised volumes, beside to an Academy section for training in cultural disciplines, art, fashion and design, as well as food and tourism: a real business school animated by some of the most qualified teachers, journalists and testimonials of Milan’ scene, whose calendar already provides a specialization course in Management of Cultural Heritage (May 27), in Design Management (October 26 ) and a Digital professional school for communication (always from May 27).

Moreover, the museum has a bistro and a restaurant enhanced by a partnership with Sambonet-Rosenthal, protagonist in the Italian kitchen design scene and for the supply of refined porcelain or crystals, but also with group Ferrarelle for the supply of water, Grandimpianti for the kitchen, Poltrona Frau for furnishings, and Frette  for fabrics, Monza’s historical brand as well as world leader in luxury linens (also adopted on the Orient Express and on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome). Not least, Mudec will grow next to its own Art Channel (Canale Arte), a new multimedia television wanted by Group 24 hours to document each exhibition, as well as researches and insights related to the museum’s themes.

View from the Café Restaurant Terrazza - Milano, Civica raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli
"Cairo in Milan" - Milano, Civica Raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli
Africa Campaign - Milano, Civica Raccolta delle stampe A. Bertarelli

And if the novelty of the location is not enough to appreciate this Made in Italy jewel, the imminent opening of Expo2015 will guarantee a record of visitors in the two already scheduled exhibitions: on one hand, the striking "Mondi a Milano" ("Worlds in Milan", from March 27th to July 19th), in which is shown the path of Milan internationalization through its main exhibitions (from 1874 to the mid-twentieth century), on the other, "Africa, la terra degli spiriti" ("Africa, land of spirits", from March 27th to August 30th), relating to the study of Black Continent’s artistic influences on the European scene and to the investigation of its ritual as micro-regional complexity.

In particular, "Worlds in Milan" opens a window on the unique ethnic heritage conveyed from the still little known Italian explorers, of which the museum deposits preserve some great value artifacts (accessible by appointment). Perhaps the first, authentic tribute to their fundamental geopolitical role, whose Mudec is the official spokesman today, but also emblematic example of how the prejudices towards other cultures have been transformed into the conscious acceptance of diversity over time. The best lesson of openness the ethnographic museum offers, confirming Milan first laboratory of multiculturalism in Italy.


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