The art sector is becoming aware that cultural institutions are generators of discourse and must play a role in favour of equity and equal opportunities. To a certain extent, we only know the art that makes the leap to the great museums, the artists who star in magazine covers, head sales rankings or compete to be in the top ten. There is, however, an unknown art, an extensive production that develops outside the mainstream of contemporary creation and that gives voice to a multitude of visions about the world and plastic expression.

Wangechi Mutu. “Water Woman”, 2017. Artwork acquired by BMA.

In recent times, some centres stated their intention to open their doors to artistic expressions seeking for a place in the broad panorama of international art. Either from less favoured collectives or from lesser-known countries, the determination of some institutions to host these forms of expression is crystallising in new open-ended and comprehensive policies.

Jack Whitten. “Cherrypicker,” 1990.

Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is an example of this line of action. This painting-gallery founded in the American Gilded Age, in 1914, holds a fund of 95,000 works from the 19th century to the present and boasts of having the largest collection of Matisse pieces in the world (about 1000). The museum also holds one of the biggest collections of African art in the country and several masterpieces of European art.

Amy Sherald, “Planes, rockets, and the spaces in between”, 2018. Artwork acquired by BMA.

This institution has decided to sell some of its great pieces of contemporary art in order to buy works from collectives marginalised from the conventional art circuit, with special attention to women artists and art created by African-Americans. As its director, Christopher Bedford, points out, it is about "correcting or rewriting the post-war artistic canon". In fact, last May the museum sold five paintings at auction and is closing some private sales to get rid of works by Franz Kline, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Rauschenberg or Warhol with which to feed a fund for future acquisitions.

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley. “In The Body of the Sturgeon”, 2017. Artwork acquired by BMA.

Some of the money has already been reinvested in works by artists from the African diaspora such as Wangechi Mutu, Isaac Julien, Njideka Akunyili Crosby or Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and soon Amy Sherald, an African-American painter from Baltimore who became renowned after Michelle Obama commissioned her official portrait. In Bedford's opinion, none of this should arouse such interest and surprise. The responsibility of an art centre is to be up-to-date and offer a real vision of current creation, not just maintain the canonical bias inherited.


The cultural agenda gradually recovers after the health-crisis halt and art lovers are eager to enjoy the rich cultural offer that the different spaces and museums throughout our geography have to offer. In addition, one must remember that these centres have made an enormous effort to adapt to the demands that the new situation imposes and have created abundant online-accessible content to overcome confinement. We bring you a selection of content that can be visited both in person and through the web. There is no excuse for not enjoying contemporary art again.

Olafur Eliasson, “En la vida real (In real life)”, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao continues with its exhibition dedicated to Olafur Eliasson and offers numerous resources to understand not only the exhibition but also the work of the centre in the assembly and installation process. The website allows us to expand content with interviews with the artist, the download of the audio guide and the vision of the curator Lucía Aguirre, who offers us different video-pills on the pieces in the exhibition.

"Olafur Eliasson: in real life" brings together a part of this artist's work since 1990 through sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colours. Likewise, the integration of elements such as moss, water, ice, fog... put the visitor in a situation that confuses the senses and tries to challenge the way we perceive our environment and move in it.

Regina de Miguel, “Isla Decepción”, 2017

The Botín Centre in Santander hosts the exhibition "Collecting processes: 25 years of Itineraries" which brings together the work of 25 of the 210 scholarship recipients who, to date, have enjoyed the Botín Foundation Plastic Arts Scholarship, started in 1993. With the works Lara Almárcegui, Basma Alsharif, Leonor Antunes, Javier Arce, Erick Beltrán, David Bestué, Bleda and Rosa, Nuno Cera, Patricia Dauder, Patricia Esquivias, Karlos Gil, Carlos Irijalba, Adrià Julià, Juan López, Rogelio López Cuenca, Renata Lucas, Mateo Maté, Jorge Méndez Blake, Regina de Miguel, Leticia Ramos, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Teresa Solar Abboud, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Jorge Yeregui, David Zink-Yi, the exhibition is a good example of up-to-date and young contemporary art contributed by artists with very diverse profiles.

Clemente Bernad. Series “Ante el umbral”, Madrid, 2020

The Reina Sofía Museum wanted to create a visual chronicle of what the confinement and the tragic numbers of infected and deceased have meant for the lives of many of us: a tale of pain, nostalgia and uncertainty made by the photographer Clemente Bernad. This exhibition, curated by Jorge Moreno Andrés, is entitled “Before the threshold”, a title that expresses the strange sensation that occurs when faced with something new and unknown, something that we cannot control or avoid, and that we all must go through. The alteration imposed on our lives unexpectedly is reflected in the streets, transformed into places of solitude and abandonment where life has been paralysed.

Mario Merz / No title, Triplo Igloo, 1984 MAXXI Collection

At the IVAM, the exhibition "What is our home?" brings together works from the IVAM collection and the MAXXI centre in Rome to propose a reflection on the space we inhabit seen from a personal and social perspective. It is about investigating the value that these spaces have as a home or refuge, as well as part of a city or community.

The exhibition, curated by José Miguel G. Cortés, also wants to delve into the feeling of those who feel like foreigners anywhere, because they do not identify with the habits or customs of the society, they do not fit into these social patterns, and home becomes the only shelter space that can adapt to their identity needs.

Martha Rosler, frame from “Backyard Economy I-II”, 1974 © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Es Baluard Museu is committed to video creation and performance and hosts the monographic exhibition “Martha Rosler. How do we get there from here?” dedicated to this New York artist who pioneered the use of video as a mechanism for social and political analysis. This exhibition includes various works, from video to photography and several publications, which synthesise her main lines of discourse. Her concern for public policies and the social equality of women has led her to actively participate in numerous social movements in La Havana, New York, Mexico DC or Barcelona, and these experiences are present in one way or another in her work.

With the curatorship of Inma Prieto, a selection has been made within the abundant production of this artist, which presents one of the most coherent careers in towards-the-new-Millenium contemporary art.

Image from file, via

The MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, host the works of the prestigious international digital art archive "Turbulence", a platform dedicated to network and hybrid art. In view of the inevitable closure of this institution, the MEIAC has offered to host all this valuable content collected since 1996. The uploading of the file also served as an opportunity to restore numerous pieces and convert formats so that files that had become obsolete remain readable by new systems. A huge job of conservation and updating that can be enjoyed online today. The archive is made up of hundreds of digital works from around the world that can now be visited remotely.