Since its closure in mid-March, the halls are eerily quiet at Madrid’s Reina Sofia. The museum used to be crowded with art lovers and students who come to explore masterpieces by the 20th century’s most prominent artists like Picasso and Magritte.
“The museum misses happiness,” said Mari Carmen Pinedo Cazorla, a security guard at the museum.
In Madrid’s Reina Sofia, the most visited museum in Spain, experts have always been eager to protect paintings. With the restrictions starting to be eased, the museum is hoping to open its doors within a month.
Museums must “convey the message that there is no need to fear others,” Reina Sofia’s director, Manuel Borja-Villel told AFP.
Jorge Garcia Gomez-Tejedor, who wore a face mask as he inspected Picasso’s “Guernica”, said: “We must remain to ensure works remain in good shape.” The Reina Sofia received 4.4 million visitors in 2019, half of them from outside Spain, but it fears it will see a 30 percent fall in revenues this year because of the coronavirus lockdown. According to Borja-Villel, with the museum’s reopening, many measures will be imposed on visitors to ensure their safety.
The government has ordered museums to restrict admissions to a third of their capacity and to open their galleries gradually. In addition, the museums will be requested to provide thermometers, and hand sanitizers, as well as “organizing the activity in a way that ensures social distancing.” And first and foremost, “people will not be allowed to touch anything,” including cards, brochures, doors, or elevator buttons.
Art can contribute to the resumption of social life, the museum’s director said. After weeks of isolation, “It’s is important to express the happiness we feel when we spend time with others, and to celebrate the idea that we are not alone.” The crisis has taught us many lessons that “pushed us to consider things we never thought about before,” like the end of a globalized world with non-stop action, said Villel. He also expected a transformation in the cultural production, noting that it will move away from the current “big exhibition model.”