You embarked on a mission to turn the Pinacoteca into a more accessible, enjoyable, and modern museum, to bring it into the very heart of the city. What’s the outcome so far?
JB: We can definitely see an increase in young people, families and children to the museum, and a big increase of visits by the Milanese themselves. For the first time in decades Brera is regularly covered in the international press.
It is common knowledge (or maybe just a cliché) that we Italians underestimate our cultural heritage. Would you agree?
JB: I think that Italians do tend to take culture for granted - if a Rome aqueduct was standing in Cincinnati I am sure it would attract far more attention. On the other hand I don’t think that means that Italians undervalue culture, on the contrary, Italians are very proud of their heritage and very aware of how much a part of their identity it plays.
As a comparatively new resident, what do you think of Milan?
JB: I arrived in Milan post-Expo, so I just assumed the city was always dynamic. Every day I discover something new in Milan, another element of the city’s diversity that makes it an exceptional place to live and work.
What’s the city’s main flaw?
JB: A lack of instruments to help institutions to create synergies.
Can you mention some of your favourite things and/or places in town and describe your typical day in Milan?
JB: As you can imagine, my days are mostly spent working in or very close to Brera. They begin with a coffee at the Beverin caffè, and often include a visit to Demetra, the rare book shop and lunch at the Tokyo Grill, just across the street. A rare day may include a walk across the park to the Triennale, or through the Orto Botanico to via Montenapoleone.
Give us 3 three reasons why people should absolutely add Milan to their bucket list.
JB: One, it is not yet submerged under a tsunami of mass tourism. Two, the mix of art, music, design and fashion is extraordinary. Three, it is international, dynamic and contemporary.
Which artists and art periods do you prefer as an art enthusiast and connoisseur and what’s your relationship with art outside of your work?
JB: I have very eclectic tastes, and I curated exhibitions on 16th century Mannerist art and American Trompe l’Oeil painting. Outside work I tend to collect rare books rather than art.
Can you recommend three small/minor museums in the world that we should absolutely visit?
JB: The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, the Museon Arlaten in Arles, France, and
the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK.