The Louvre Museum’s Niko Melissano: “I will be the Ambassador of Riga now’’
Over 300 representatives from 25 countries of the world’s leading museums and art galleries, that included iconic institutions as the Louvre Museum (Paris), The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Tate (London), Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), the Auschwitz-birkenau State Museum (Poland), and many others, converged in Riga for the international museum conference "We Are Museums 2017".
For three days, in June the Latvian National Art Gallery, and Art Academy of Latvia, became the centre of the world’s museum ecosystem, where vital connections between practitioners, entrepreneurs and game changers to assist museums become future ready was facilitated.
‘‘We Are Museums serves as a meeting place that creates meaningful relationships between museums and their environment and to connect the best practitioners in the sector,” Diane Drubay, the founder of We Are Museums told The Baltic Times.
The event took place in Vilnius in 2013, and Estonia may stage it in a few years according to Drubay.
Museums were at the centre of discussions and debates during the conference, with a particular focus on inclusion, empathy and social added value, and covered the current challenges for museum professionals comprehensively, from technology to attracting new audiences as museums develop collaboration and become resources for the world.
Niko Melissano, from the Louvre Museum in Paris said: ‘‘It was my first time to Riga and it has been an inspiration. I have been left with an impression of a dynamic young city, full of new ideas. It is very beautiful, very quiet, the parks are very clean. I will be the Ambassador of Riga. It was a very big surprise, it’s a beautiful city, everything is perfect, it’s a very human town.’’
‘‘The Musée d'orsay in Paris, which is the brother of the Louvre Museum, located in front of the Louvre, with only the Seine separating us, will be staging the exhibition Symbolism in Baltic Art (Le symbolisme dans l’art des pays Baltes) in 2018.’’
The exhibition Symbolism in Baltic Art will be one of the most ambitious joint projects for the Baltic Centenary and among the largest centenary events to take place abroad. The Latvian National Museum of Art initiated the project, which will be carried out in cooperation with the national art museums in Tallinn, Vilnius and Kaunas.
‘‘The Louvre is a worldwide museum, the mission is to represent different cultures of the world, different civilizations, and why not, I hope to present more about Baltic collections on our social media sites, which may set the platform for cooperation on a larger scale between directors of the Louvre and the Latvian National Art Gallery,’’melissano said.
For Milda Ivanauskiene, Director of Vilnius’ new Modern Art Centre, which is being currently built, stressed the conference for her was about audience participation at museums. The Modern Art Centre was established in 2009 by Danguole and Viktoras Butkus as a public institution and a "museum without walls".
The centre’s mission is to create a home for Lithuanian art, expand the circle of art lovers and contribute to the growth of our society’s happiness index.
‘‘We see the Modern Art Centre as being about creating a social place for interaction. We are facilitators, for our audiences to be in front of artwork, and giving them more context, more ideas to think about,’’ Ivanauskiene told The Baltic Times.
‘‘Several years ago, these conferences were mind opening. You know it’s a kind of confirmation that we are in the right direction.’’
In regards to developments of the Modern Art Centre, the Lietuva Cinema, once one of the largest movie theatres in the former USSR, has been demolished and preparatory building work for the Modern Art Centre has begun, and where the work of nearly 200 artists will have a permanent home in a spiffy new building designed by the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
‘’The walls of the museum are being built, and we will have a standing building structure in October of this year, so the walls and the roof will be ready. This will enable all the engineering work to commence during the winter. Because we have cold winters in Vilnius, in October, we need to have heating in order for the exterior work to start in the spring,’’ Ivanauskiene said.
‘‘If everything goes well, we are thinking about opening in September 2018.’’
Built in the late 1950s, the Lietuva Cinema structure on Pylimo in Vilnius was one of the main cultural centres in the capital.
The Modern Art Centre will keep a bit of the history in that it will house a 200 seat movie theatre.
The We Are Museums community, as its Director Claire Solery noted to The Baltic Times, are really after getting more inspiration: ‘’they are a little sick of the same museums, and the same rules, and same strategy and they are looking for more fresh ideas, and more human also and more inclusive ideas, and that’s something you find in the east, and the Baltic States region, and you don’t find so much in the west.’’
‘’Western museums had come to this conference in Riga to get inspired by something that they are not used to, and the fact that’s it’s always in another city that they have no idea about is really important for them, as it opens their eyes to something new and something fresh, modern and young, and they need that. Latvian people are so young, the way they think, their mentality; their mindset is so young and dynamic. It’s modern.’’
‘‘In the future, the Baltic States will be one of the places that people will look at, so what we want to do is basically be an eye for an international audience to look at the Baltic States,’’ said Solery.
300 representatives from 25 countries of the world’s leading iconic museums and art galleries converged in Riga for the international museum conference "we Are Museums 2017".