Located a few steps from the port of Marseille, the Mucem is celebrating its tenth anniversary today. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations was imagined by Rudy Ricciotti in 2002 when the city "invested little in the project". The architect now believes that the place is poorly managed. He accuses at length, in an interview with La Marseille, the teams of Pierre-Olivier Costa, the director of the establishment, of making it "a black box without light" to exhibitions "worthy of a provincial museum" and "which hasten [his] underdevelopment".
At the time of its construction, the Mucem was a "social epic", says Rudy Ricciotti, thinking back to the hundreds of workers who made this site live, at a time when few people believed in the project. Today, he believes that the building is "mistreated": "The wooden moat, downstairs, where I dreamed that we could go to read a book in the fresh air. Except that they closed the staircase that goes up the esplanade, but forgot to make a major space for fire safety. " A situation that he opened up to the director of the establishment: "They have nothing to fuck," he says. "I said to Costa, 'You know if there's a fire, you end up in the hole?'"
Behaviour 'worthy of a provincial museum'
Attendance at the Marseille museum - whose terrace is accessible - is now close to 1.2 million visitors. Only a quarter of Marseillais are among the visitors of the place. For the architect, this situation is explained by the editorial choices of the team at the head of the establishment. The Marseillais "do not feel represented by the cultural programming," he laments. "For them, it's an urban folklore of the international type."
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"The dream of a cultured person today is to remake a black box in which there is no light. But what the fuck if it's to see exhibitions of American artists like Jeff Koons. These are exhibitions that hasten the underdevelopment of the Mucem, submission to imperialism and Anglo-Saxon neurotic mythologies. It is a behavior worthy of a provincial museum to exhibit artists already seen in European capitals, the architect rages. I find this completely tocardy. To believe that there are no deserving French artists, even Marseillais. We feel that there is this existential difficulty in the management of the museum to be in its real time. It's always the same sardinade: hip-hop, folk stuff."
The only consolation for the architect was the reception of the building by the people of Marseille. "The Mucem touched the hearts of the people," he said, before comparing his work to "Quasimodo tears." "[The Mucem] recalled that Marseille had tenderness," he concludes.