Both art museums of state and private ones are like huge alive encyclopedias, being unreplacable. To evaluate an art museum, we should have a look at the cultural functions it has. A variety of galleries and museums are interpriting art and culture in different respects, making a pyramid of cultrue together. So, when we talk about possibilities about art museums, we may be discussing the possibilities of culture.
Valerio Ballotta COO of Italian The Magi‘900 Museum
Zhou Xiaowei Director of the Italian Magi‘900 Museum, Chinese district
Luo Yiping Curator of Guandong Art Gallery
Xiao Chunyuan senior collector, head of Macau institute of caligraphy and sealcutting
Pi Li Senior Matermind of Hongkong West Kowloon Cultural District M+ museum
Bao Mingshan Managing Director of Yongyuan, Curator of Xinjiang Guanghui Art Museum
Lou Gang CEO of HK Sino Artglobal co,.ltd
Private art museum vs national art museum, mutual complementarity
Host: Mr Ballotta, It seems that the Italian Magi‘900 Museum is playing a role of museum and gallery at the same time. It’s quite different from what the way a traditional musem look like. What kind of role on earth it is playing?
Valerio Ballotta: The Magi‘900 Museum locates in an ancient city of Provincia di Bologna. It’s the first and the biggest private museum in Italy. Giulio Bargellini, the founder of the Magi‘900 Museum, is a successful Italian entrepreneur. He had been loving collecting art works since he was young. The Magi‘900 Museum had been a just a barn in 1933. With Mr. Giulio’s financial aid, after more than ten years’ reconstruction, The Magi‘900 Museum reopened with a brand new look. Mr. Giulio’s private art works were the base of this art museum’s collections, which now has exceeded 10,000 art works of more than 1,100 artists.
The Magi‘900 Museum is a public service institution and a private enterprise at the same time. Both green hands of art collecting and experts can get help in processes of purchasing, using and selling when they choose art works here, so that we are able to give artists financial support, operate the museum, invest in collections and promote exhibitions as well as events.
Host: Then, could you tell me what’s the difference betwenn the Magi‘900 Museum and public museums in Italy?
Valerio Ballotta: The differences are huge. National museums are funded by the country, while private ones are private investments with much more flexibility. Its important features are becoming more obvious during the global financial crisis these years. For example, they can actively seek and foster some young artists and collect their works.
Host: Mr. Luo, what do you think is the biggest difference between Guangdong Art Gallery as a public art institute and MAGI’ 900 as a private one?
Luo Yiping: Guangdong Art Gallery is a non-porfit state-owned art gallery playing mian roles as crltural image, cultural brand and cultural representative of this region. So in the first place, Guangdong Art Gallery must be demonstrating Guangdong’s fetures from its collections to exhibitions. Meanwhile, strating form the local reality, it also has an international vision. Therefore for 15 years since it was founded, Guangdong Art Gallery has held a great number of global art exhibitions, such as the just ended 4th Guangzhou Biennal. In my opinion, the biggest difference between Guangzhou Art Gallery as a public art institute and private ones lies in the more national image it is representing.
Host: We can see that both Mr. Bao and Mr Ballotta have metioned that private art galleries participate more in the market. What’s your opinion about it?
Luo Yiping: I may say that Guangdong Art Gallery is participating the market in two ways, directly and indirectly. Our country is gradually increasing funds for collections to museums and art galleries, enabling us to rub shoulders with galleries, artists and auction houses from which we have bought a certain amount of our collections. That is when we participate the market directly. On the other hand, an art gallery has the responsibility to show the new power of art and new artists of the region and even the country. When we hold exhibitions, we are actually fostering the artists spotlighted by market. So we are participating the market indirectly and evern fostering the market in this way.
Host: Mr. Bao, we can see that Mr Ballotta represents the first private museum in Italy and you are running a private art gallery. Could you describ the relations between private and state-owned art galleries?
Bao Mingshan: I think they are mutually complementary. Nowadays, there is a public art museum in alomost every city and province. After 30 years of opening up and economic reform, economy has been largely developing and some entrepreneurs want to repay the sociaty through opening private art galleries to the public, like our Xinjiang Guanghui Art Museum. Public art galleries can enjoy uncomparable support, such as funds and policies. Keys to private art galleries operation are choices of collection themes and maintaining sustainable development. Take our gallery for example, it locates in Xinjiang and can mutually complement with public museums considering districts, themes and scales.
Collectors are the soul of private galleries
Host: Mr. Xiao Chunyuan, could you tell us, as a collector, how would you describ the relations between collectors and art galleries?
Xiao Chunyuan: I personnally think that museums are important for collectors to improve their taste in art. When I collect works of art, I read books and learn from the collections in museums a lot. China is developing so fast. Private museums are appearing, while their qualities are not stable. I believe that the Xinjiang Guanghui Art Gallery run by Mr. Bao would be an excellent one, for it has collected many great works of art. The blossom of private art galleries is a great thing for collectors, because they can be more flexible, hense can more interactive and intersting for visitors. Their existence has possitive effect on us. Public museums are too stiff, as Mr. Bao metioned, most of the best collections in national museums may be all preserved in storages. It’s lucky that the Palace Museum together with Macau Museum of Art has held an exhibition this year, showcasing some rare collections. Lots of collectors and the public have been attractied to it.
Host: Mr. Lau, there is a saying says that it is bad to change a habbit of collecting into your career in China. However, a certain amount of collectors here today have been loving arts collecting since they were young and then have become curators. Could you tell me what do you think of it?