The contemporary: uncritical presentism or multiple temporalities?
Estefanía Radnic

Radical Museology. Or What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art ? it is an exquisite book, from where you look at it: the powerful and concise text with the clear tone of Claire Bishop, the incisive illustrations by Dan Perjovschi, the impeccable editorial design and the small format that makes it friendly.

Bishop strongly criticizes the presentist idea of ??”the contemporary” linked to “the cool”, “the new”, the economically successful that reigns in the global panorama of Museums of Contemporary Art. She militates for an overcoming of the relativist pluralism that homogenizes in an uncritical way the artistic manifestations advocating a politicized understanding of history. For this purpose, museums have permanent collections as a key tool to produce alternative stories and generate spaces for reflection on the present outside of market dictations.

The author takes as model of «dialectical contemporaneity» three Museums of Contemporary Art: Van Abbemuseum in Eidenhoven, the National Museum of Reina Sofia in Madrid and MSUM in Ljubljana. The curators of the collections of these museums propose a dynamic rereading of history, constructing, following Benjamin, constellations of multi-temporal meaning that mobilize the past to bring it relentlessly to the present. How do these alternative museums get rid of the reliance on blockbuster displays designed to attract investors and mass audiences? I invite you to go through the pages of this unmissable essay to find some hopeful tracks.

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