TAM - Tower Art Museum

Can you tell us about what TAM - Tower Art Museum is?

TAM: TAM - Tower Art Museum is a private contemporary art museum that recently opened in Matera after many years of tribulation and difficulties, recounted in the “Volevo solo aprire un museo”. TAM will produce two exhibitions a year with national, international and local artists with the aim of creating new cultural content: our goal is to create a new rhetoric that goes beyond a stereotypical narrative of Matera's history and allows us to live in a city where things happen. We don't have a permanent collection, but we want to build one over time as we grow an economically and culturally sustainable cultural enterprise.

“Volevo solo aprire un museo”was born from a question that still has no answer: What is the legal form for doing cultural enterprise in Italy?

At the time of our inception, the Third Sector Reform was materializing, and so we decided to look into the topic of social enterprise in corporate form, we felt it was a great way to do business but remain within the Third Sector. At the moment it does not seem to have been a very wise choice, as the reform has not yet taken the stability we expected, but we are convinced that we will soon find answers to our questions.

TAM - Tower Art Museum - Opening, Dicembre 2022, Matera - Courtesy TAM

You have opened to the public on December 1, 2022: what is currently possible to visit in your spaces?

We opened out of the blue, deciding a few hours beforehand: in these 5 years of waiting we have received help and support from so many people in a variety of forms. We could never thank them all as we would have liked so we decided to open without organizing anything. Currently, "The Restoration of the Hypogeum Txakurreo" by the trio Canemorto, a work that was born a few years ago and is finally open to the public, can be visited: the exhibition route starts at Via Ridola 13, where there is a ticket office, bookshop and an introductory video about their work. After the screening is over, we accompany the group to the museum spaces that revolve around the Capone Tower-a 12th-century tower-which is about 300 meters from the ticket office.

We are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., like the institutional and serious museums.

Can we ask you about the curatorial direction of the museum: are there specific languages or research that you would like to develop within your reality? How will these dialogue with the city of Matera?

Within our group there are no purely curatorial-trained figures, but we have given ourselves well-defined guidelines for producing the exhibitions and content: the first 4 exhibitions (about 2 years) will be curated in-house, so as to put our own stamp on the TAM skeleton. For the subsequent ones we will invite outside curators.

We don't have preferred mediums, but we have limitations related to the nature of the spaces that are very far from the white cube concept: we don't want to be a location to be filled but we need specific content to be created in order to achieve our goals of social and cultural sustainability. We can now sign a clear no to Blockbuster exhibitions or projects born in distant studios whose only problem is related to logistics and how to get the works to us.

We will not make contemporary art history, but we want to insist on the need to produce new content here with local, national and international artists. On the other hand, not being philanthropic and moving without public or foundation support, we necessarily have to develop such programming to make this sustainable in the long run and demonstrate that we can do cultural enterprise starting from (almost) 0.

TAM - Tower Art Museum- Detail of The restoration of the hypogeum Txakurreo by CANEMORTO - Courtesy the artist \ TAM
TAM - Tower Art Museum - Inauguration, of TAM's spaces, bookshop and museum desk., December 2022, Matera - Courtesy TAM

TAM is also opening a beautiful bookshop under construction: there are several publishing houses and a selection of titles ranging from contemporary art catalogs to magazines, from children's picture books to valuable gadgets. Where will you go in your publishing offerings?

When we started this adventure (in 2017) we had set ourselves one standard to live up to: bypass amateurism and professionalize our role.

We believe that a structured museum cannot exist without the planning and management of serious and well-organized ancillary services: our small bookshop (which is at the entrance of the path, a kind of entry through the gift shop) will match the workshops, lectures, events and activities that will allow us to make this place come alive in its entirety, not limiting it to a series of rooms where we attach works.

In the museum bookshop we offer an editorial selection of mostly independent projects discovered through an ongoing research process, believing that the choices made can serve to enrich the cultural offer: we would never be able to replace the much more serious work of bookstores but we think that a good visit is also completed with the offer of these contents, which range from contemporary art, illustration for children and young people, magazines of international scope, music, photography and much more. The only key distinction in editorial selection: we will not host volumes with ugly covers.

TAM - Tower Art Museum- Detail of The restoration of the hypogeum Txakurreo by CANEMORTO - Courtesy the artist \ TAM
TAM - Tower Art Museum - Esterno, Dicembre 2022, Matera - Courtesy TAM
TAM - Tower Art Museum - Exterior, December 2022, Matera - Courtesy TAM
written by 

TAM is a project of Torretta srl-social enterprise based in Matera and is composed of Mauro Acito, Dario Colacicco, Rita Padula, Silvia Parentini, Debora Russo, Alessandro Simili and Chiara Valzer.
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