The New Cultural Frontier as shown by Christophe Mazurier
Tuesday December 27, 2016 - 14:29
Cooperation between the public and private sectors in the field of art are blooming, and it’s an excellent thing. Here’s why.
Prolific businessman and philanthropist Christophe Mazurier is a man with opinions – he knows what it means to defend a vision. Mr Mazurier has often been keen to deliver his ideas on what lies ahead of us in the fields of art and culture, and what the new frontiers are.
Mr Mazurier’s position can be summed up in a few sentences. He believes that the art world cannot keep moving forward without using new approaches. He believes that shifting away from the old model of museums supported by their sole national governments is an excellent idea. Sharing ideas, visions and knowledge to cooperate internationally is one way to achieve this – another is to rely more and more on patronage and sponsorship. Public institutions should not shy away from private funding, especially at a time when private donations are helping a number of internationally-renowned museums to carry out their strategies and visions for the future.
Take the Palace of Versailles, for instance. The statues of the French gardens have been restored thanks to the commitment of private companies. Its gigantic archives regularly benefit from private donations from all over the world. The Palace has managed to implement a new strategy, bring in more and more tourists without altering the place one slight bit, and it has become a thriving example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. More and more people are now able to enjoy Louis XIV’s incredible gem, and it’s all for the better.
People like Christophe Mazurier might be seen by the more conservative members of the cultural sectors as defending uncanny new ideas, but the facts are here to prove them wrong: private donations have helped museums keep up with the times. If the aim of art and culture is to reach out to as many people as possible, then cooperation is the way.
International cooperation is the same idea taken to the next level. Governments collaborate, donators are parties to projects, and the same goal of pushing the frontiers of art and culture further are met again. An excellent example of this type of cooperation is the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. France and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement in 2007 to build a branch of the Louvre in the capital city of the small country, and the project has had more than one positive effect.
First and foremost, the museum’s existence and its opening to come are the clear signs of the project’s success: the museum has a collection, a vision to build bridges between European and Arabic art and cultures, and it’s now ready to open. This is an achievement in itself: locals and tourists will be able to enjoy some of the world’s finest art masterpieces, and the museum aims at setting a new standard for the region. Then there are other positive side-effects: the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi, and of course the tightening of diplomatic relations between an important European country and a growing Arabic country.
Philanthropists like Mr Mazurier are right: there is indeed a new way to push the new cultural frontier further, and the way is through cooperation.
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