Meet Patrick Amsellem - new head of the Museum of Public Art in Lund…

Meet Patrick Amsellem who is leaving his job as curator at the Brooklyn Museum of Art to become the new head of the Museum of Public Art in Lund from 1 January 2012.
Why are you leaving the hot art scene in New York for Lund and the Museum of Public Art?

“Because it is a challenge to get to do something in the place where I had my first experiences of art and because the Museum of Public Art has quite unique collections. I remember when I saw Henri Matisse’s large sketch of a chapel there – it was something of a revelation to find that picture in Lund. There is no other museum that has such a large collection of public art from the early 20th century to today. We want to be involved in showing what public art can be in the 21st century.”

How is the tempo on the art scene different?

“In New York it is fantastically intensive, things move very quickly. I have missed the somewhat calmer tempo in Sweden with more time for reflection.”

In what ways do you want to develop the museum?

“I want to make it better known internationally; it is not half as well-known as it deserves to be. It would also be fantastic to open a café at the museum to create a meeting place and automatically get an audience to communicate and interact with, even before they have entered the exhibitions. Then I want to work with the space outside the museum, where thousands of people pass by every day. I hope we can create a space with art that makes passers-by stop and reflect on the way to work or a lecture. That would be very worthwhile.”

How will you find the money for all of this?

“That will be a major challenge; our budget is small. I will have to use my experience and international. Working at museums in the US is very much about networking with collectors and art enthusiasts; there, sponsoring the arts is normal and I can use that experience. It is a matter of finding money for projects, of starting collaborations with partners outside the University.”

What is your view of belonging to a university?

“It is very exciting to become part of a larger context and a great advantage to have access to the intellectual resources that are found at the University. I hope that we will sometimes be able to reflect the latest happenings in research.”

– Jenny Loftrup

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