Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
The Lutheran idea of reformation appears more relevant than ever against the backdrop of the then polarization of society: today deep-reaching events such as Brexit and the menacing danger of emerging nationalism place the world before similar challenges. A reforming rethinking is therefore also called for from museums and the art world. Not only the identity of Europe and its underlying democratic values seem to be being tested; free and artistic thinking is also increasingly under threat worldwide.
European museums, because of their lack of self-reflection, sometimes pronounced self-complacency and unquestioning adoption of marketing strategies from business, have been set before the problem that they no longer reach large parts of a potential public. We should return to our true mission. This includes contributing, by availing ourselves of the means of art and culture, to a cosmopolitan and tolerant society in which museums are defined as places of common reflection, dynamic exchange and mutual enlightenment.
The following goals therefore possess great potential to effect a present-day Reformation in the cultural sphere:
- Museums must constitute themselves as platforms by gaining insights from a direct, non-hierarchical contact with people and benefiting from their knowledge.
- Museums should recognize to a greater degree that their holdings are intercultural common property. At the same time, they must rethink the claim to ownership of art and cultural heritage and make the international public aware of the principles guiding this reflection.
- Museums will have to adapt themselves to the globalized and media-networked world and should already now become much more active in using their resources to drive innovations and so help shape the future in a positive way.
Marion Ackermann (born in 1965) has been General Director of the fifteen Dresden State Art Collections since November 2016. She studied art history, German Studies and history at the Universities of Göttingen, Kassel, Vienna and Munich. Before she was appointed Director of the Art Collection of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2009, she was Director of the Stuttgart Art Museum from 2003 to 2009.