THE MUSEUM CENTRO DE ARTE DOS DE MAYO
Picture: Roberto Ruiz.
The CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo is the contemporary art museum of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. Inaugurated in May 2008, it commemorates the bicentenary of the public proclamation in Móstoles that marked the start of the uprising for the independence of Spain against Napoleonic rule. The commemoration of a popular revolution has served to provide the region with the only museum in Madrid dedicated exclusively to contemporary art which, over time, has positioned itself on a national level as a communicator of narratives about contemporary Spanish art.
Dedicated to a form of intellectual leisure and the continuous stimulation of curiosity, the CA2M is a space where the present – and the questioning of it – is endorsed. The past – the centre’s own and that of the collections it houses – is an archive that is always open and continues to be created; it should be imbued with meanings that correspond to a critical present and that contribute to glimpsing a future that, rather than confronting or combating its risks, ascribes them to the actual possibility of cultural coexistence. The current need for many voices, for building a multiplicity of possible socio-cultural narratives, allows an unlimited institutional imagination to be shaped and the continuous reinvention of this space for new potential visitors. The centre is a place where the knots of cultural narratives are tied and untied over time in a fluid and disseminated movement, but which is understood, from a geographical standpoint, as strategic. Contemporary art is a social field with an emancipatory power over representation. A reconstitution of the complexity of the past in order to understand the present is a particularly relevant task; it can activate the cultural production of its immediate environment while also having global horizons and effects.
Its location in Móstoles allows it to question the complex definition of what a metropolis is as well as its own role in contemporary culture, linking its connections with its immediate surroundings in the south of the Autonomous Community of Madrid with its calling to extend beyond these borders. This is why it puts so much focus on its relationship with its visitors. Its geopolitical position in the South of Madrid – as a local place of culture for more than a million people, as well as for the five million inhabitants of the entire region – allows it to be a space devoted to innovative and unifying strategies to ensure that art fully achieves its function as an intellectual stimulus in society and in contemporary culture.
In 2016, Manuel Segade took over from Ferran Barenblit as director of the CA2M, via an open call whose judging panel was made up of Lara Almarcegui, Ferran Barenblit, Manuel Borja-Villel, Aurora Fernández-Polanco, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Guillermo Solana and Carlos Urroz. For more information on the project click here.
The main goal of the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo museum is to encourage work in contemporary art and to make it public. The CA2M’s commitment to contemporary creation and critical thinking is carried out through its exhibitions, collection, activities, educational programmes, research, digital communication and publications.
The CA2M works along lines that criss-cross its entire programme and that help it to encompass ideas that go beyond the visual arts to include film, music, literature, design and the performing arts.
Click here to read the Museum’s mission statement.
Located in the heart of Móstoles, the CA2M is a new building on the site of an old historical building known as La Casona. Covering 5,886m², the centre has exhibition spaces on three floors, an auditorium that seats a hundred people, a café, a library, and a terrace where numerous outdoor activities can be enjoyed. It also has office and research areas, as well as the warehouses equipped to house the works of the collection.
The original architectural design of Celia Vinuesa and Pablo Pérez-Urruti was modified in 2016 with a series of very precise architectural ‘acupuncture’ interventions by the Andrés Jaque studio, Office for Political Innovation, giving it a unique character.
The CA2M is a ‘think tank’ where exhibitions are understood to be a kind of backbone, and as the best and most effective way of connecting with society. The exhibition programme is a mutual support structure for the rest of the museum’s departments, a link for the production and dissemination of artistic discourses and projects.
Working with real-time relationships and in synchronisation with international artistic contexts involves, of course, recovering the genealogies of our own production and looking at the material culture of contemporary art in Madrid from within and beyond its borders.
The group exhibitions, curated by different experts, give rise to points of view on the most current art, its relationship with popular culture and the problems of today’s society. In the case of solo exhibitions of up-and-coming Spanish and international artists, we are committed to the production of new projects that generate new works of art.
ACTIVITIES AND EDUCATION
A community’s main art centre must be a support, a structure that reinforces, that allows it to advance its mission of participating in the construction of quality public culture. That is why the CA2M has, from day one, placed special emphasis on its programme of activities, from more traditional ones such as talks, screenings and debates to innovative formats that bring contemporary culture to a wide range of audiences. This Spanish programme, which has become an international benchmark thanks to its approach as a mentor and also as a creator of ancillary activities, has been able to broaden the diversity of its visitors and the ways in which it attracts people. Alongside this local work, in terms of its networking and ways of collaborating, its co-productions allow it to be present today in many geographical locations, a unique case within Europe’s institutional environment.
Its wide-ranging programme makes it a centre with numerous activities offered on a permanent basis and with different events throughout the year: the winter audio-visual offer includes the Cinema on Sundays programme; courses in autumn and winter such as the now classic But...is this art? by the Universidad Popular; work with specialised groups such as the association Rompe el Círculo en el huerto; artist residencies; creative workshops; Picnic Sessions (a programme of performances and concerts held between the end of May and the beginning of June every year on the terrace); and the music self-publishing festival Autoplacer at the end of September. All of these are influential activities in the Autonomous Community of Madrid thanks to their diversity and appeal. The terrace is a particularly suitable space for artists to offer certain activities or specific interventions that are small in size – when compared to the centre’s general programme – but that are highly symbolic. All of them must be understood as part of the intangible heritage of this ever-growing centre.
The educational activities are based on a principle of intellectual hospitality, welcome and respect for different points of view, making this arts centre a place of dialogue in the ‘perpetual present’. Education is understood as a process of continuous research, disseminated to particular interest groups, such as young people, families and teachers. The themes it broaches focus on people as individuals and as a collective; in addition, the activities generate methodologies of discussion that centre on image culture. Its main purpose is to replace the usual mechanical way of explaining things with a more open one; one that allows people to develop their own knowledge, to accept mistakes as something to be shared as a step towards asking other original questions, and as a step towards different ways of facing reality.
Order of creation of the museum