The Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva, decreed the end of the State protocol with businessman José Berardo in May and the consequent closure of the Berardo Collection Museum at the end of the year. The extinction of the Foundation was approved in the last week of 2022, although the legality of the decision has been challenged. It is the most viewed modern and contemporary art collection in the country, with 10,655,452 visitors from its opening date, June 25, 2007, to November 30, 2022. The museum ceases to exist on January 1, 2022. 2023 and the doors close with no scheduled date for the reopening of Module 3 of the Belém Cultural Center and little certainty about its future exhibition content.
“At this moment it is premature to set a date for the reopening to the public, since this decision is inevitably related to the content of the judicial decision that will be taken regarding the Berardo collection,” the Ministry of Culture (MC) tells Observer . in official response. “If the detention of the collection is not modified, and the current terms are maintained -works in the custody of the president of the CCB Foundation and available for public enjoyment-, the Ministry of Culture will continue to guarantee the conservation and safety of all the pieces , including the payment of the associated insurance, for an annual amount of around half a million euros”, continues the MC, but if that does not happen, there is no idea on the table. In other words: “On January 3 there may be conditions to open the doors to the public, making only the Berardo Collection available for public enjoyment.” A scenario that “will only occur if the terms of the detention are maintained until then, that is, if until then there is no court decision that finally changes the current scenario”, as the MC explains in detail to the Observer.
The reopening of Module 3 of the CCB, announced in May under the name of Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Belém, and with new works on display, from the Coleção de Arte Contemporânea dos Estado (CACE) and the Coleção Ellipse —which in the meantime has passed property of the Portuguese State-, will take place “during the year 2023”, also affirms the MC, and adds that any question related to the programming of this space “is not raised for the moment, since the CCB is part of its Board of Directors Delfim Sardo, renowned curator”, who took over the management of the CCB Exhibition Center between 2003 and 2006, that is, he will be the one who defines what the public will be able to see in the new museum. Regarding the future of the 26 workers of the Berardo Museum, the MC guarantees that “the current labor relations will not be called into question”, but the way in which they will be defined has not been clarified, not even for the workers themselves.
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