Biennial Pavilion, during the 35th São Paulo Biennial. Photo: Levi Fanan/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Biennial Pavilion, during the 35th São Paulo Biennial. Photo: Levi Fanan/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

CWith his inauguration scheduled for January 2, 2024, banker Andrea Pinheiro will assume the presidency of Biennial with two objectives: to create a panel to select the curator for the 36th edition of the exhibition, which will take place in 2025, and to expand the national reach of the institution's educational actions with teachers. Also a MASP advisor, Pinheiro served as second vice-president in the last two terms of the Executive Board (2019-2023), and her main role was fundraising. According to a statement from the Bienal, the number of Fundação Bienal sponsors increased from 18, in December 2018, to 48, in December 2023, not counting the additional 13 international supporters and 16 partners.

“We have been following a very healthy financial management process at the Biennale for many years. But the role of the institution is to democratize art. How is it possible to do this? Being free, with itineraries in the states and talking to the public through social and educational networks, which takes the Biennale as a starting point to take art to public schools, mainly municipal and state, and also to NGOs specialized in education. This all requires money”, ponders Pinheiro. “In São Paulo, education is very strong. We train 18 thousand teachers from the public school system, with classes that on average have 44 students. So you can imagine the impact the program has. But we want this information to reach other states.”

Pinheiro's mandate, who was elected by the Foundation's Board of Directors last Tuesday (12/12), is valid for two years, with the possibility of re-election for another two years. Despite being a prerogative of the president of the institution, the executive wants the choice of curatorship for the next Biennale to be made by a collegiate committee.

“Obviously, the president of the Biennale consults with his board and advisors to make this decision. But, to make the choice more transparent, I want to create a committee of eight people, with complementary profiles, which will be a mix of directors and advisors, who can make the process richer”, he explains.

The itineraries of the 35th Biennial, which take place from 2024, will have a record reach, reaching 11 Brazilian cities and four foreign ones. Pinheiro will also be leading Brazil's official participation in the 60th Venice Biennale and the 19th Venice Architecture Biennale. During his management, he will also continue the cataloging and conservation actions of the Wanda Svevo Historical Archive and to a building improvement schedule. It is also among its objectives “deepen the institution’s vision of sustainability”.

Pinheiro begins his term with a partially renewed Executive Board. Ana Paula Martinez, Francisco Pinheiro Guimarães, Luiz Lara and Rita Drummond remain at the institution, and Roberto Otero and Solange Sobral join the board. The first vice-president will be Maguy Etlin, who has been a member of the Board of Directors of Fundação Bienal since 2019, where she serves as coordinator of the International Committee and president of the International Advisory Council.

“I think my nomination comes from this five-year experience, in which I learned a lot from Zé [Olympio, current president of the institution], but I don't consider myself an expert”, says Pinheiro. “I'm not a collector, but I was lucky to have parents who always exposed me to art. And you learn by being exposed, hence the importance I see in the Biennale’s educational aspect.”


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