Brera|z - Brera reborn in a Manifesto. James Bradburne announces the gallery's revival after the lockdown
“Now we have to completely change the focus of attention, from the museum «visit», the experience of real objects in space, to the «experience» of the museum, so enhancing the «value» of the museum collections. This can take place in the museum but in future, as we learned during the lockdown, also increasingly online.”
A museum director well known even to the general public, James Bradburne arrived in 2015 to head the Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Braidense, after international experience gained at such notable institutions as the New Metropolis Science and Technology Centre in Amsterdam, the Next Generation Foundation in London and Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, places where Bradburne redesigned the relations between the concept of art and its public enjoyment. In an exclusive interview for the Giornale dell'Arte, he lists his commandments to restore Milan’s famous gallery to life, or perhaps we could describe his words as a roadmap for its rebirth.
“Visiting and experiencing. Both are valid in the same way, and equally necessary and complementary, yet fundamentally different. The identity of a museum has long been confused with the identity of its collections, an error rather like the confusion between music and the score in which it is written. The value of the museum can be measured but, as I will demonstrate, no longer on the basis of the number of visitors, but the number of subscribers to its creative product: on the basis of what the museum does, not what it possesses. The battle cry of the Minister for the Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini, who is advocating the creation of a Netflix of culture, means more than simply creating content about museums. It means creating an economic model similar to Netflix’s, by replacing the purchase of a visit with the purchase of a subscription.”
Opening image: Pinacoteca di Brera, photo Cesare Maiocchi