The City Council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife approves paying more than 16 million for Rodin’s replicas

The Governing Board of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council has approved this Monday the contract for the acquisition of the sculptures for the future Rodin Museum, as well as the annuities that will be payable to the French entity, between 2022 and 2026, for an amount that exceeds 16 million euros. The approval comes shortly after experts from the world of culture on the islands have started a campaign to collect signatures against this projectwhich they describe as absurd and meaningless for a museum “of replicas” of a French artist with no ties to the island and who died more than 100 years ago.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife will spend 16 million to have a museum of Rodin replicas

Santa Cruz de Tenerife will spend 16 million to have a museum of Rodin replicas


The Councilor for Finance and Heritage, Juan José Martínez, stressed that it is “an amount appraised by the valuation experts of the University of La Laguna and an excellent opportunity for this capital, since it will value the love and passion of this city for sculpture as an artistic manifestation, reflected in works of international level in its streets”.

The file, Martínez commented, involves the acquisition by the City Council of 68 original works and 15 replicas of the father of modern sculpture to endow the Rodin Museum in Santa Cruz and the readjustment of annuities, which represents the tender of 16,015,492 .5 euros, IGIC included, for the years from 2022 to 2026, after the negotiation that improves the temporary planning of delivery of the works, in the sense of not exceeding 3,000,000 euros, IGIC included, for 2023 and taking into account the planning of the execution of the rehabilitation work of the Viera y Clavijo Cultural Park.

Thus, added the councilor, it is foreseen in the contract that all the works are delivered by December 31, 2025, a term that has been accepted by the bidder, for which a new delivery schedule was obtained in the years of 2022. to 2025, and highlighted that it is an investment, since these works of art “will never lose value and are municipal property, which also means that Santa Cruz will become the second Rodin museum in the world and that, according to the most conservative calculations, it generates an economic impact of around 56 million euros per year”.

The Rodin Museum, argued Martínez, “will make us, without a doubt, the capital of sculpture in the entire Spanish State and one of the most important in the world, since we would combine having sculptures in the street and the museum of the father of modern sculpture and the work of an artist who is an icon of this discipline at an international and local level” and highlighted that, in addition, “it will be in a rehabilitated space, which is a cultural icon of the city, such as the Viera Cultural Park and Clavijo, whose reform will begin this coming year”.

Even so, Juan José Martínez pointed out, this bet “is just one more piece of a great project to recover the chicharrero heritage, as is the case of Viera y Clavijo, which will be the BIC that allocates 50% of its space to house it” and wanted to remember that this initiative “adds to the various actions on the historical heritage of this capital with different moments in the execution of the projected works such as the Masonic Temple, the building of the old School of Arts and Crafts in the Plaza de Ireneo González, the Marqués de Villasegura building, the Palacio de Carta, the castle of San Andrés, etc.

Last January, when the director of the Parisian museum was there, she highlighted that given the enclave planned for the museum and the city, “it makes all the logic in the world that the Rodin Museum has its space here, because it fits perfectly with the spirit of the artist and finds in Santa Cruz the ideal place to maintain the continuity of this wonderful project”.

He also revealed that in fact, in the one in Paris, there is a 19th-century chapel, so “we think the idea that the director of the rehabilitation project, Fernando Menis, has of locating part of the Rodin Museum in Santa Cruz”, he added.

Juan José Martínez insisted that this space “will continue to be for public use and, furthermore, the location of this international museum will attract tourists from all over the world to our city” and ended up highlighting “what which, without a doubt, is a bet to generate economy and employment opportunities, while at the same time recovering a space for the citizens of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which will also be the owner of the works of the great French artist”.

Rejection of a “crazy” and “inflated” project

According to the promoters of the collection of signatures against the project, this operation “hides nothing more than the purchase of a series of reproductions of the French sculptor authorized by the museum that bears his name in Paris” and has been justified based on an economic study “exempt from rigor that offers estimates of the economic return of the museum so exaggerated that they are fanciful”.

They point out that “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.”

In addition, they continue, “since there is no relationship between Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the figure of Rodin, said investment will not contribute to the construction of a coherent tourist claim, thus understanding that there are no economic arguments that justify this operation.”

On the cultural level, they point out that a museum requires a “serious” museum plan that determines its patrimonial, research, educational function and, above all, its social function in relation to the context in which it is registered.

“Not only has there been no attempt by the City Council to develop a museum project in this case, but no specialist would justify the relevance of this museum for the city,” they comment.

Along these lines, they insist that the “very high” budget that is intended to be allocated to the purchase of these sculptures is “totally disproportionate” in relation to the annual budgets that the City Council has historically allocated to culture.

Undoubtedly, they detail, “at a time of global economic crisis, this enormous expense will have a negative effect on the cultural fabric of the city, not only going to the detriment of cultural institutions that are much more deeply rooted in it, but also preventing the appearance of new initiatives with more meaning and social significance”.

They also point out that the Rodin Museum in Paris has openly declared its intention to overcome the economic crisis caused by the covid by increasing the number of sculptures it puts up for sale and opening up to “emerging markets” in such a way that “the more reproductions and more ‘ Rodin’ museums circulate around the world, the lower their attractiveness and value will be”.

In this way, they understand that Santa Cruz de Tenerife “deserves something more than the provincial and ignorant gesture of trying to buy its cultural image with a franchise”, also pointing out that “the City Council demonstrates with this gesture its lack of respect for local culture in particular and contemporary artistic production in general, denigrating the image of both” to project the capital “as a city incapable of producing its own culture”.

They also point out that the Rodin Museum in Paris is currently embarking on a lawsuit that could force it to return the 3-d scans of the sculptures it houses in the public domain, “that is, it is possible that, if it loses the lawsuit, some sculptures for those that the Santa Cruz City Council intends to pay 16 million euros can be produced by anyone without having to pay for a license”.

All in all, they indicate that Santa Cruz de Tenerife deserves better cultural infrastructures “but the supposed Rodin museum is not such a thing, but a very expensive political whim that will irreparably damage both the ability to support the cultural fabric of the city and its cultural image in general.” the outside”.

“We believe that an investment like this cannot be imposed by the sole will of a mayor when public opposition is so loud and the arguments in its favor so flimsy. We demand the immediate stoppage of this crazy project”, concludes the proposal.

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