UPDATE: In January 2023, the director of the Rodin Museum in Paris sent a letter to the Santa Cruz City Hall rejecting the proposal, saying the conditions were not right to continue the project, so we can assume the project is dead: El Pais article. To date, Mayor Bermudez has not admitted to any lack of transparency in the decision-making process.
In October 2022, the City Hall of Santa Cruz de Tenerife announced plans to create a Rodin Museum in Parque Viera y Clavijo, a satellite museum of the original Rodin Museum in Paris. The plan is to spend roughly 16,000,000 euros to buy 68 Rodin sculptures and 15 replicas. To support this plan, the City Hall released an unsigned document estimating the visitors that the museum would receive. Their estimate? 15,000 visitors per day, the same number of visitors that the Paris Museum receives! Tourists come to Tenerife for warm beaches and cheap beer, not a museum of a 19th-century French sculptor that won’t even have an original “The Thinker”. After the first 3 months of locals checking out the renovation work, I think a more accurate estimate is 30 visitors per day.
The City Hall has not offered any public debate on the issue. The City Hall’s website discusses three pillars: transparency, collaboration, and public participation. No comment.
I’d like to offer a counterproposal: the Street Art Museum of Tenerife. An art museum for the 21st century in Tenerife, rather than the 19th century. Just look at the success of the Moco Museum in Barcelona or the Mana Museum of Urban Arts in the USA. A museum based on the latest trends of art is bound to be more successful and far less expensive than a satellite Rodin Museum. We need to match the innovation of the 1973 sculpture park that passes in front of Viera y Clavijo Park.
What might a Street Art Museum in Tenerife look like?
Rooms 1-5 dedicated to street artists in Spain, like Suso 33, Man-o-Matic, Spok, Spy, Aryz, Sixeart, along with Tenerife’s own street artists. Some rooms would house a combination of permanent photos of their murals, tracking the history of the street artists of Spain. Other rooms would show actual artwork of these artists (so the public can see their art beyond spray cans). Other rooms and outdoor walls would house temporary murals painted on the walls. (Yes, it’s okay for urban art to return to the museum, but in a new way. Let these artists push these frontiers of indoor art without a canvas.)
Room 6 to house walls of flat LED screens for video art projections.
Room 7 will be a small-scale movie studio based on the very modern LED Volume concept: a circular LED screen surrounding a studio. The Volume, first used to film the Mandalorian is now set to transform the movie industry. A low-budget version can be built both to showcase video artwork and mixed-media performances, as well as rental or subsidies to local filmmakers. Let the museum-goers see an actual commercial being prepared (with actual filming during closed-door sessions or after hours). (This idea could also work beautifully in El Tanque.)
Room 8 for Living Art. A 21st-century urban development has been the vertical garden. With Tenerife’s climate, we are in a unique position in Europe to show the possibilities of plants as art, such as sculptures created for vines to grow around them.
Room 9 showing Trash Art: this 21st-century movement creates sculpture by recycling trash. La Laguna’s FeoFlip is a strong proponent of this art, sometimes using trash washed up on our shores.
Room 10 dedicated to Cesar Manrique, the artist who transformed the Canary Islands with his vision of outdoor art and arquitecture.