How do private and public art institutions work within the context of urban policies and planning, and in relationship to the desire and needs of citizens and visitors alike in large European cities? The context is changing quickly – besides the pandemic. The interplay between research and audience development, physical and digital activities, citizenship, inclusion, international ambitions, marketing and communication, cultural mobility and public space, dissemination and architecture… poses questions that struggle to find clear, shared answers. The present sometimes looks very much like a distorted mirror of the past. How are Milano and Barcelona coping?