The Evening Standard‘s magazine has a long profile of Miuccia Prada’s career as an art collector and plans to create a permanent facility for her Prada Foundation’s art collection on an industrial site just South of Milan. The museum will be designed by Rem Koolhaas. Marcus Field talks to Germano Celant, the “jet-setting Italian critic and curator,” who has been a driving force behind the foundation since 1995 :
This new project marks the most significant shift in the Foundation’s history. ‘It’s all part of our plans to expand,’ Celant [… says.] ‘After 15 years it’s important to make this next step to become a major institution. We will show our collection and store work there. But there will also be seminars and travelling shows. It will be a laboratory for art.’
Celant is ambitious that the Foundation should become like its Getty and Guggenheim counterparts and live on after the life of its founders. ‘That’s the idea of institutions,’ he says. ‘Also, it’s important for Milan and for Italy.’ And here lies a great opportunity: although Italy hosts the Venice Biennale every two years, it has no real permanent focus for contemporary art. If Prada pulls this off, Milan – already a centre for fashion – could join London, Paris and New York in the international art axis.
Models and drawings for the site show the existing seven factory and warehouse buildings transformed into galleries, lecture halls and cinemas, with an additional ‘museum tower’ and new buildings to be built from scratch.
The campus, elliptically described by Koolhaas as ‘a collection of artefacts that encounters several architectural typologies’, will become a permanent home and display space for the Prada Collection, which now numbers more than 500 large works including pieces by Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Sam Taylor-Wood, as well as a more general arts centre hosting exhibitions and conferences on anything from film and architecture to philosophy and fashion. When completed, it will push the Foundation into the major league of contemporary art organisations.
All this will cost money, of course, but then Prada has heaps of it. The 2008 figures for the fashion group, which funds the Foundation, are robust, with a profit of €99 million on a turnover of €1.7 billion. If Prada chose to put only half its profit into the Foundation, the figure would roughly equal the £46 million government funding received by the Tate in 2007-2008.
Even so, Celant is now more cautious about the opening date for the €25 million development, originally scheduled for 2012, telling me 2013 or 2014, but certainly in time for the Milan Expo in 2015.
Is Miuccia Prada the Next Peggy Guggenheim? (This Is London)