Hello James, I’ve been trying to explain to people what The Museum of Everything is. Can you help?
The Museum of Everything started with an exhibition in London in 2009. We presented hundreds of artworks by all kinds of unusual and private art-makers, most of whom did not call themselves artists. There were sculptures, paintings, drawings, all inside an incredible 1000m2 building. After our first success and thousands of visitors, we decided not to stay in one place, but to travel. Today we are known around the world as much for our ideas as for huge installations – and we believe in the right of everyone to the title of artist, no matter who they are.
Since 2009 the museum has travelled the world. Which city or public had the better understanding?
That’s a good question … and since this is an Italian publication, I will of course say Italy and the Italians! We have a wonderful relationship with the country, ever since we showed in Torino at the Pinacoteca Agnelli in 2010 and then again as part of the Venice Biennale in 2013 (which was itself partly inspired by our shows and artists). We always celebrate artists from Italy, especially from Sicily. There is other countries outside Italy too … we have loved our times in Britain, Russia, France and Turkey. Yet in the formal world of art, we still encounter a lot of resistance against our way of looking at art. Many museums do not think that what we exhibit is art at all!
In fact my next question is about this: taste versus Art. Who’s the winner?
Taste is such a big thing these days, isn’t it? I am not sure that taste really exists, it is always personal. I am the chef de maison of The Museum of Everything, so my taste dominates, yet I always try to remember to look at new artworks beyond a personal aesthetic. Our project is about non-professional art, so by definition it inhabits the margins of mainstream taste. We tend not to include the art you see in other museums, we enjoy being different!
How difficult is to scout the kind of artists featured in MoE and where do you take the inspiration from?
It’s easy to find artists, but not so easy to find the greatest and most unique artists. It’s even more difficult to acquire their most powerful and emotive artworks. Some artists are too productive, some are not productive enough, sometimes we find ourselves meeting so many that we ask ourselves who is visually unique. In truth, there are only a few great discoveries out there and you have to look at a lot of artists before you find the perfect match.