Longitudes

Latitudes top ten of 2007

Following the traditional festive stocking/page filler of the year-end best-of list, here is Latitudes' pick of our ten favorite projects which we saw during the past 12 months. In no particular order...
  1. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster ‘Expodrome’, ARC / Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
  2. 'The Painting of Modern Life'. Hayward Gallery, London
  3. Wilhelm Sasnal. Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
  4. 'Jiri Kovanda Versus Rest Of The World'. CASM, Barcelona; Jiri Kovanda. Krobath Wimmer, Vienna
  5. 'Artempo', Palazzo Fortuny, Venice
  6. Erik van Lieshout ‘Kunsthaus Hollywood’, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
  7. 'Robert Gober: Work 1976-2007', Schaulager, Basel
  8. Louise Bourgeois, Tate Modern, London
  9. Thomas Hirschhorn ‘Concretion Re’, Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
  10. Michael Rakowitz ‘The invisible enemy should not exist’, & 'A house with a date palm will never starve', Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah
Feliz Año Nuevo | Happy New Year!

MACBA's director Manuel J. Borja-Villel to direct the Reina Sofia from end January 2008


The news broke on Saturday afternoon that Manuel J. Borja-Villel (Burriana, Castellón, 1957) will be the new Artistic Director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), and will start his new job at the end of January 2008. Borja-Villel has been Director of the Museu d'Art Contemporani Barcelona (MACBA) since 1998, and was founding director of the Fundació Tàpies (1990-1998). Despite his appointment not being a shock exactly, the news is important as it is one of the first appointments in Spain to follow the controversial 'Código de buenas prácticas' (Code of good practice) whereby there shouldn't be any more 'al dedo' ('made') appointments. Instead an international call for applications should be held, and was in this case, and appointments be made according to the decision of a selected international committee. And following each candidate's proposals and presentations, and not their political orientation.

That said, the decision to appoint the MACBA director has not been surprising for two reasons. Firstly, a few weeks ago the Spanish newspaper El País [15.11.07] announced Borja-Villel as the favourite for the job, together with a list of the top candidates. How were their names known when the process is supposedly strictly secret? Rightly, there was much discussion in the artistic community [read A-Desk and SalonKritik]. Secondly, the requirements for the job were that candidates should be a 'Spanish or national of a country member of the European Union' (appearing to rule out any Spanish-speaking Latin American candidates, or indeed any other non-European Spanish speaker, and clearly questioning the tip-off that had Dan Cameron shortlisted in the El País article). The candidates were also asked to have 'Excellent level of Spanish' and 'To present, in Spanish or anyone of the co-official languages in the Independent Communities, or English or French, the main lines of the Museum Plan for the Institution'. Spanish prefered, we get it. It makes one wonder what will be the requirements for the now vacant MACBA Director job, if they are to follow the 'código de buenas prácticas' with an open call.

One of the first responses to the appointment was from art critic and curator David G. Torres in A-Desk's blog, in which he briefly analysed the pros and cons of the mandate: Borja-Villel has put MACBA on the map – for sure – and has given a direction and coherence to its collection – again, yes – but it has lacked a dialogue with the city of Barcelona and its visitors. According to Catalina Serra [El País, 23.12.07], the Catalan arts community has already responded by demanding an international open call for the MACBA position, but with more time for the potential applicants to prepare proposals (candidates had a month to make their applications for the MNCARS job). Let's see what happens here; interesting times ahead! The news are, however, great for MNCARS, Spain's forever-in-crisis national museum, which has had no leading figure since September 2007, that lacks coherence in its collection, has a so-so programme, but of course holds a precious treasure in world history: Picasso's Guernica.

For more info read MNCARS' Press Release (Spanish) and the announcement in El País (23.12.07)

MACBA Study and Documentation Centre

MACBA yesterday officially opened its excellent Centre d'Estudis i Documentació / Centro de Estudios y Documentación in an adjacent building to the main museum site on Plaça dels Àngels, Barcelona. 

The ground floor hosts an exhibition space, and the third floor hosts the luminous MACBA library and archive, with books, magazines and journals, as well as videos available for consultation. The tolomeo-lamped study tables have plugs for laptops, and according to staff, wi-fi will soon be available throughout. 

As the Director himself has commented, while other museums add cafés and shops, MACBA invests in hardcore study. For those who have been craving a no-appointment-needed contemporary art resource and study environment in the centre of Barcelona (us!), this initiative is a godsend.

MACBA Study Center
Plaça dels Àngels 8, 08001 Barcelona, Tel. 93 481 33 66

[email protected]

Latitudes in 'Dazed & Confused' (December 2007 issue)

Photo of the magazine spread by Alexis Zavialoff.


The December 07 issue of 'Dazed and Confused' have profiled UOVO magazine as a 'heavy-duty zine'. Their short review is subtitled 'Latitudes, the Spanish curators, take over the doorstep-sized art quarterly with the help from Dash Snow and Ryan McGinley' and the caption under the photograph reads 'Latitudes take over the reins at UOVO'.

They are indeed dazed and confused. We have NOT taken over the magazine nor have we met Dash Snow or Ryan McGinley, at least not yet. Snow and McGinley were interviewed in previous UOVO issues as were, in fact, all the other artists mentioned in the review.

However, Latitudes did guest edit the summer issue #14 (Green) 'Ecology, Luxury and Degradation' which included interviews and projects by artists such as Tue Greenfort, Sergio Vega, Michael Rakowitz, Lara Almarcegui, Federico Martelli, Noguchi Rika, Arturas Raila, etc. 


We are also collaborating with The Bookmakers Ed., the design office led by Chiara Figone which has just begun to publish monographs, as members of their Advisory Board together with Andrew Bonacina, Adam Carr, Lillian Davies, Silvia Sgualdini and Francesco Stocchi.

'Greenwashing...' website

Sergio Vega, 'Paradise on Fire', 2007. Series of five inkjet archival prints, 106 x 134 cm each. Courtesy the artist and Umberto di Marino Arte Contemporanea, Naples.

We have launched the project website for 'Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities': www.greenwashing.lttds.org. The site will be updated over time as an extension to the printed catalogue, with expanded contents such as installation shots, interviews, artists CVs, etc.

So far we have confirmed the participation of Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Lara Almarcegui, Maria Thereza Alves, Amy Balkin, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Chu Yun, A Constructed World, Ettore Favini, Cyprien Gaillard, Tue Greenfort, Norma Jeane, Cornelia Parker, Jorge Peris, Wilfredo Prieto, RAF / Reduce Art Flights, Tomás Saraceno, Simon Starling, Nikola Uzunovski, Sergio Vega, Wang Jianwei and James Yamada.

The show will open on 28 February 2008 at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and remain on view until 11 May. The exhibition is curated by Fondazione's curator Ilaria Bonacossa and Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna).

For any press enquiries please email: [email protected]

Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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2005—2019