In June, Instituto Inhotim inaugurated a new moment in its history. The entrepreneur, collector, patron and founder of Inhotim, Bernardo Paz, definitively transferred to the institution a priceless collection composed of approximately 330 works from his national and international contemporary art collection, including all 23 galleries and permanent works of the museum.
The pandemic and the economic difficulties that required the reduction of work teams did not manage to dull the brightness of the gardens that house more than 4,3 species from different continents and that form part of the Institute's Botanical Garden.
Bernardo Paz's donation spearheads the project The Inhotim of All and For All, which aims to strengthen the institution's public vocation, its character as a living museum and its active collecting.
The movement also includes the constitution of a new governance, with representation from civil society, led by a new board formed by Lucas Pessôa, as president director, Paula Azevedo, vice president director, and Julieta González, artistic director.
The collection has exponents of the national and international scene, such as Anri Sala, Arthur Jafa, Babette Mangolte, Chris Burden, Dan Graham, David Lamelas, Do Ho Suh, Ernesto Neto, Matthew Barney, Nelson Leirner, Rosana Paulino, Olafur Eliasson and Yayoi Kusama .
The donation, of a definitive and irrevocable nature, also includes the emblematic galleries of artists such as Adriana Varejão, Carlos Garaicoa, Cildo Meireles, Doug Aitken, Lygia Pape, Matthew Barney, Miguel Rio Branco, Valeska Soares, Rivane Neuenschwander and Tunga, among others.
“Inhotim was born from a life project and has been expanding over the years. Donation is a natural process along this path. Inhotim is not mine, it belongs to everyone”, says Bernardo Paz, founder of the Institute.
With the arrival of the new board in January 2022, Inhotim began a process of expanding the participation of civil society. For this, one of the first measures was the constitution of a new and modern governance, through the formation of a new Deliberative Council.
The new Council will have Bernardo Paz as president and the Minas Gerais businessman Eugênio Mattar as vice-president. They will be joined by 18 people, including executives from different sectors and cultural agents such as Jandaraci Araújo, co-founder of Conselheiras 101 – a program aimed at including black women on boards of directors – and CFO of 99jobs; Susana Steinbruch, collector and founding advisor of the Fundación Museo Reina Sofia; and Guilherme Teixeira, director of Barbosa Mello Construtora.
The Council becomes the highest instance of the institution, with alternate and established mandates, ensuring its constant renewal. The group, currently made up of 20 people – which should be expanded by the end of the year with ten more members – will have temporary mandates, renewed from three to four years. The new Council will be responsible for the Institute's administrative and financial deliberations, but will not have a decision-making role in the cultural programme, which remains independent and organized by the artistic directorate. In addition to the Deliberative group, Inhotim will also have a Fiscal Council, with the function of monitoring and inspecting the rendering of accounts and the financial organization of the institution.
The objective of this organizational proposal is to allow greater transparency and contact with society as a whole, given the magnitude of the project.
The curator Julieta González and the assistant curator of Inhotim, Deri Andrade, inaugurated the Second Act of the Museum of Black Art, designed by Abdias Nascimento. The exhibition, held in partnership with the IPEAFRO, focuses on the history of the Teatro Experimental do Negro, created in 1944. Documents, books and photographs show how, in the 1950s, the anti-racist movement was fruitful and for the recognition of black art in Brazil. Abdias Nascimento’s career was permeated by the importance that, for him, the African roots had in the country’s culture. That was what guided his trajectory as a playwright, writer, plastic artist and parliamentarian.
This show grows in conversation with the video presented at Galeria da Praça, by Isaac Julien, Looking for Langston: I Dream a World, which is based on a survey of the life of the African-American poet, social activist, playwright Langston Hughes (1902-1967), his friends and fellow black writers who formed the Harlem Renaissance, a movement that took place in the early 20th century, based on in African-American expressions and that reflected on identity and sexuality.
The investigation of prominent personalities of the 20th century, such as Langston, is a constant in the work of Isaac Julien. The artist focuses on the lives of characters from the beginning of the century, with the aim of revisiting official historical narratives.
The video brings together fictional images, impeccably reproducing period customs, along with journalistic images. express as you wish. “It's an attempt to fill in the gaps in history with fiction”, says Douglas de Freitas, curator of Inhotim.
The donation contributes to making Inhotim more active
By Patricia Rousseaux
arte!brasileiros spoke with the curator Julieta González, the new creative director who brings an important international trajectory to Inhotim. She has served as a curator at institutions such as the Tate Modern (London), the Masp, the Museo Tamayo (Mexico City), the Bronx Museum (New York) and the Caracas Museum of Fine Arts. In 2019, she left Museo Jumex, also in Mexico, but continued to work as an independent curator.
ARTE!✱ – Julieta, we would like you to comment on any example of curatorship that you think is emblematic of your career.
I cite two exhibitions that I made almost 15 years apart, but that tried, each in its own way, to dismantle some of the matrices of Western thought that shape our visual, cultural and museological regimes. the first is Ethnography: Mode of Empleo – Archeology, Fine Arts, Ethnography and Varieties, which I performed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas, in 2002. This exhibition dismantled the ethnographic view of the “other” and dissected anthropological methodologies and their logic with respect to contemporary art.
the second was Memorias del Subdesarrollo: Temporary Instances of Descolonial Aesthetics in Latin America (1960s-1980s), shows that it came from my master's thesis work. It was a research for the project initiated by the Getty Institute, Pacific Standard Time, Latin America in LA, which intended to remove artistic production from Latin America in those years from the niche of Latin American conceptualism, which had been consigned in the last two decades, and understand the specificities of several productions on the developmental logic that permeated the various modernities on the continent. I think both shows speak of a constant in my research as a curator, of thinking and articulating our discourse from Latin America.
You arrive in Inhotim at an important moment. How do you see it?
The donation contributes to making Inhotim more active, with more intense public programming, more dynamic changes in the galleries, collaborations with other institutions, an even greater integration between art and nature and with the surrounding communities.
What does Inhotim bring as a challenge? How did you solve the programming in the case of the current openings? What is the focus for this exhibition space?
Inhotim is a place like no other in the world, and this difference brings many challenges that encourage us to think far beyond art and exhibition in a system, moving towards an ecology, where art is in relationship with the territory, the community and the nature.
In the case of the current openings, we worked hard to give a more specific form to the project by Abdias Nascimento and convert it into the guiding axis of the program until the end of 2023, when this partnership with IPEAFRO will end, which truly inaugurates an epistemic turn in thinking. , program and collection at Inhotim, and a more permanent and stable relationship with different communities, including the Afro-Brazilian.
How are budgets decided at the institution? A project is presented and then funding is sought, or is there an annual budget, per project, to which it is necessary to adapt?
We are at an early stage where many things are being reformulated, but the procedure is very similar to that of other institutions: we make a budget forecast, and the program is built from these available resources.
How does management work? Do you discuss projects together, understanding and adjusting concepts and priorities?
The artistic directorate is quite autonomous in the sense that, after aligning the essential points of the program, we share it with the director-president and the director-vice president to make it financially viable or to articulate eventual institutional collaborations.
What is the relationship between the directors – more specifically the artistic directors, yours in this case – with the art curatorship, currently owned by Allan Schwartzman and Fernanda Arruda?
Allan Schwartzman is a key figure at Inhotim, he started this project with Bernardo Paz. Today, together with Fernanda Arruda, he works closely with Bernardo in the acquisition of works for his collection and in some of the artistic commissions for the Institute. The artistic direction and curatorial team have a dialogue with them about the program and points where the different strategies can align. We inherited several projects started by Allan and Fernanda, which will now come to fruition, such as the gallery for the works of Yayoi Kusama, among others.
There was a rumor that Inhotim would be interested in buying the work of the Brazilian pavilion in Venice, by the artist Jonathas de Andrade. Proceed? In such a case, who makes the decisions to incorporate works into the museum's collection?
With the donation of the works to the Inhotim collection, from now on the acquisitions will be defined based on periodic strategies. Regarding your first question, this possibility did not enter our strategies.
What are the next moves?
Are many. For now, the next acts of the partnership with IPEAFRO and the reorganization of the temporary rooms in Inhotim, in dialogue with the themes that articulate the Abdias exhibitions with the latest acquisitions by Bernardo Paz – many of which are part of this donation. We are also continuing with infrastructural projects such as the remodeling of galleries, completion of galleries that were designed before our arrival, and new projects that we will talk about when they are more advanced.