Rodin Museum in Paris Abandons Plans for Outpost in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Friday, January 6, 2023
Rodin Museum in Paris Abandons Plans for Outpost in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Rodin Museum in Paris abandons the controversial project of opening a headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The Rodin Museum in Paris abandons the controversial project of opening a headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The rectors of the museum center dedicated to the famous French sculptor yesterday submitted their official resignation to this project financed with 16 million euros of public money in light of the numerous criticisms leveled by a broad representation of experts from the cultural, artistic and academic sector of Canary Islands. This was announced in a letter signed by the director of the Rodin Museum in Paris, Amélie Simier, addressed to José Manuel Bermúdez, mayor of the capital of Tenerife and one of the main defenders of the project, whose government team yesterday ordered the immediate suspension of its Administrative file.

The rescission of the agreement occurs one year and three months after the signing in Paris between the managers of Rodin’s legacy and those responsible for the Santa Cruz City Council, which set a part -around half- of the Cultural Park as the location of the future installation Viera y Clavijo, whose rehabilitation works will begin this year 2023. “We must conclude that the conditions currently do not exist for the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife to host an international museum project,” reads the Paris statement, which highlights in turn “the cultural and heritage values” of the city of Tenerife, although “we are sensitive to the recent events in your city and the unfortunate statements of a part of the cultural, academic or political sector”.

The director of the Parisian museum regrets all the “unfortunate” criticism of the project
Thus culminates a well-known controversy with national reverberation around this million-dollar project that has essentially confronted two perspectives: in its favor, the referent of the “Guggenheim effect” in Bilbao or the “Picasso effect” in Malaga for the sake of a greater impact. tourism in the city, as well as the identification of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as a “city of sculpture” by the First International Street Sculpture Exhibition in 1973, promoted by the Official College of Architects; and against, the disproportionate and unjustified investment of a commercial operation that turns its back on the reality, needs and demands of the cultural sector of the Archipelago and that, moreover, is built in the void of a biographical, historical or artistic link to Auguste Rodin with the Canary Islands.

The mayor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, José Manuel Bermúdez, regretted yesterday the “loss of this opportunity” and pointed out that the opposition groups “are not up to what the city and the municipality need to plan their future”. because “they continually try to boycott, one after another, projects for the city.”

Precisely, hours before this official confirmation was announced, the PP spokesman and Councilor for Environmental Sustainability and Public Services, Carlos Tarife, asked the mayor to dialogue with the cultural sector and with the public, since he considered that the way to manage this issue has been “debatable” and that large projects for the city “cannot be one-person.”

Likewise, Bermúdez has stressed that this news “does not paralyze the investment policy” of the City Council that he presides over for the benefit of the recovery of local heritage and culture, since he stresses that “the culture and historical heritage of the capital must be axes of socioeconomic development, generation of opportunities”. For this reason, it would undertake to promote “a process of dialogue” with cultural, social and economic agents to agree on the possible future uses of the Viera y Clavijo Cultural Park, now that the space destined for the Rodin Museum headquarters will not house this project.

Bermúdez points out that the opposition groups “are not up to what the city needs. For their part, those responsible for the Parisian cultural space regret that “the current questioning of Rodin as a universal artist, the questioning of the originality of his works and the questioning of the motivations of a national public institution” like this “have led to this inevitable decision they regret.” Thus, the Rodin Museum invites, finally, “to a local reflection, beyond ideologies, to make the culture shared by all a collective success”, they state.

On the other hand, the criticisms and manifestos against opening this branch of the Rodin Museum of Paris in Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been adding more and more supporters by prominent personalities from the culture and art sector in the Canary Islands.

Specifically, at the end of last November a denunciation campaign was deployed on social networks, which to date has accumulated more than 3,000 signatures of nationally and internationally renowned arts and culture professionals, and who brand the project as “waste”. , “inconsistency” and “fanciful”.

«As has been repeatedly pointed out, this operation has been justified on the basis of an economic study that is not rigorous, which offers estimates of the museum’s economic return that are so exaggerated as to be fanciful. A more realistic estimate and attentive to the sector, will have to assume that it will be a non-refundable investment and that the resulting institution will require repeated investments to remain open, ”says a collective statement.

On December 20, the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of La Laguna (ULL) also expressed its direct rejection of the project, since it considers that the initiative “seriously harms the culture” of the Tenerife capital and “does not benefit” to Canarian society, for which reason the institution outlined an appeal to the city council to stop the project, as well as a demand that the corporation “study the best way to allocate its funds to the promotion of culture produced in and from the island of Tenerife.

Lastly, the territorial delegation of the Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo (IAC) in the Canary Islands, constituted as an independent association made up of professionals dedicated to contemporary art in the islands as a whole, joined the protest campaign against the project through an official statement, in which they argued that this project “does not respond to the cultural reality of the islands -marked by precariousness, in many cases, extreme-, which has been hit by the pandemic and the different economic crises, and that in months to come will be totally drowned out by the continuing economic downturn.” “This lack of resources for local culture makes it impossible for cultural professionals to develop professionally with dignity,” they conclude.

As a whole, this critical current with the project of the Parisian headquarters in Tenerife has also highlighted that those responsible have not at any time had the appreciation or participation of the agents linked to the island’s cultural fabric and, even less, with the Canarian citizens. in the construction process of the project.


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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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