From 9/5, the public will be able to immerse itself in the history of MAM, the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo. With the master sponsorship of Bradesco and the support of PwC, the commemorative exhibition MAM 70: MAM and MAC USP brings together works, artists and pioneering actions that have shaped the history of the institution. Founded in 1948, MAM São Paulo is one of the first museums in Brazil dedicated to collecting and exhibition modern art. Its pioneering action has given rise to other important institutions in the cultural world, such as the Biennale Foundation of São Paulo, the Museum of Contemporary Art of USP and the Cinemateca Brasileira.
With a collection of over 5 thousand works produced by the most representative names in modern and contemporary art, principally Brazilian, MAM has chosen 103 works for this exhibition which points towards the future. “Since its foundation, MAM has been a museum that has permanently taken the risk of working with experimental production – hence its commitment to the prospection of contemporaneousness”, observes the museum’s curator, Felipe Chaimovich.
The pieces selected for this exhibition range from European works, such as those of Joan Miró, Fernand Léger and Jean Arp, to works by Brazilian artists such as Alfredo Volpi, Geraldo de Barros, Maureen Bisilliat, Nelson Leirner, Cildo Meireles, Tunga, Anna Bella Geiger, Ana Maria Tavares and Claudia Andujar, among other names.
Partnership between MAM and MAC USP
The show unearths a broad range of works and documents deriving from the collections of MAM and MAC USP which recount the history of both institutions, addressing themes that focus on the future of society, such as the relationship between art and ecology – subjects which permeate the identity of the museum.
The selection of works for MAM 70 is the result of the joint efforts of the curators Felipe Chaimovich (MAM SP), Ana Magalhães and Helouise Costa (MAC USP). The relationship between the two museums is shaped by historical circumstances. In 1963, MAM’s collection was wholly donated to the University of São Paulo, which resulted in the creation of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The show is organized into two parts. In the Paulo Figueiredo Room are works from MAM’s initial period, between 1949 and 1963. In the Milú Villela Room, the largest in the museum, are works from the collections of MAM and MAC USP acquired after this date. Connecting both rooms is a timeline recounting this story, always in accordance with four values that govern the expositive spaces:
Formation of the collection based on prospective shows: to illustrate MAM’s initiatives in the formation of its collection over the last 70 years, works will be exhibited which were acquired at the time of the São Paulo Biennales, an event created by MAM in 1951; works deriving from the Panoramas of Brazilian Art of MAM and, from the MAC USP side, works from Young National Printing (Jovem Gravura Nacional), Young National Drawing (Jovem Desenho Nacional), Young Contemporary Art (Jovem Arte Contemporânea) and from recent acquisition programs.
Pedagogical Mission: the museum’s educational legacy will be exhibited through color reproductions used in educational shows held at the Municipal Library in collaboration with MAM, between the end of the 1940s and the 1950s. In addition to this, on MAM’s facade is exhibited the work The Museum is a School (O museu é uma escola), by Luis Camnitzer, which contextualizes the institution’s pedagogical mission.
Expansion of photography as art: photography is also an important subject of MAM 70: MAM and MAC USP – photographic works will be brought together from both museums, with special emphasis on the Photography Collectors’ Club of MAM. In addition to this, records of the exhibition by Thomaz Farkas, from 1949, will be exhibited – the first dedicated to modern photography in a Brazilian museum -, which radically altered the protocols for exhibiting artistic photography, without frames and passepartouts, with the images arranged at different heights and in an irregular manner, transforming the environment into an art installation which interacted with the photographs on show.
Challenge of the contemporary: works that formed part of MAM’s inaugural show, From Figurativism to Abstractionism (Do figurativismo ao abstracionismo), will also be exhibited, together with works from the exhibition Multimedia, staged by MAC USP in 1976, which played a pioneering role in the acceptance of experimental works in Brazilian museums, and works from the show Ecological (Ecológica) of MAM, from 2010, which explains the approach the museum has adopted over the last ten years to address the challenges of the relationship between art and ecology.
With MAM 70: MAM and MAC USP, the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo celebrates its seventieth anniversary through an exhibition which highlights the institution’s fundamental values and addresses, through the past, global challenges of the present and future for contemporary culture.