The Marcos Amaro Art Factory, in Itu. Photo: Patricia Rousseaux

* By Maria Hirszman and Marcos Grinspum Ferraz

ALike most cultural institutions in the country, Fábrica de Arte Marcos Amaro (FAMA) had to quickly reinvent himself – in the virtual environment – ​​to keep in touch with the public during the quarantine. Unlike other older museums and cultural centers, however, FAMA – opened in 2018 in Itu and linked to the Marcos Amaro Foundation – did not yet have a vast audiovisual material produced. “Museums and institutions with a longer lifespan already had more records in videos, audios and images, they were more prepared than younger museums like us”, says Raquel Fayad, director general of FAMA.

The solution found was to develop a series of materials “aligning the communication and design, audiovisual, educational, museology and curatorship sectors”, as Fayad explains, and to have a constant presence (with content made available daily) on social networks and on the institution’s website. Based in a space that in the past housed a textile industry in the center of Itu, in the interior of São Paulo, FAMA houses the collection of collector and artist Marcos Amaro and promotes exhibitions, courses and public notices. The institution has already organized, among others, exhibitions by Bispo do Rosário and Louise Bourgeois and is preparing, for the near future, a large exhibition with drawings, studies and notes by Tarsila do Amaral (read here text by Tadeu Chiarelli).

Following the proposal to accompany the initiatives of various cultural institutions in the country at this time of quarantine, we collected a statement from Fayad about the work that FAMA is doing and the difficulties faced during the coronavirus pandemic (read below). Then, we talked to Marcos Amaro about the work of cataloging the collection. 

Rachel Fayad – “This moment of quarantine due to the pandemic put museums in a situation that, on the one hand, made it impossible for the public to be physically present, but on the other, it provoked a look at what institutions can promote to a virtual audience.

Museums and cultural institutions with a longer life span, with more history, already had more records in videos, audios and images, they were better prepared than younger museums like us. Perhaps because the globalized world was signaling this path, or perhaps because of some other impediment that aroused this need.

But then how to prepare constructive and interactive content at a time when the museum team is working from home? How to think about possible situations for the maintenance of the staff, prevented from being in person to attend, receive and develop actions in the space?

More than wanting to do like this or that museum, we believe that our wealth lies in this reality of a young institution, with a young and creative mediation body, guided by the competent and experienced professionals who make up FAMA. The strategy was essential for us to start publicizing on our platforms, in digital media, what would make up the history of this moment, based on the records we have and what was possible to do. The choice was to do a compositional exercise, to look at the parts and create a whole that complements each day, creating thematic, curatorial and content relationships.

The 'Quarentena – #FAMAonline' project was composed of a series of contents, one for each day of the week, in addition to extra activities such as the drawing course and the podcast. What moves us as a team is the challenge and belief in art. And this moment is a great challenge for our life. It's living a schedule without a date, without knowing what and when it will be. It's learning to use perception on another level, paying attention to all the information and news that comes up every second.

It is also being attentive to the team, to physical and mental health in times of confinement, to our desires, our abilities and incapacities, to the financial and legal situation. It's survival time. Something that generates in the human being immense strength and creativity. More than surviving, we need to live and act.

The moment was ideal for us to focus on the cataloging, organization and documentation of the FAMA collection (read below). It is also an ideal moment to expand the Educativo's training, under the guidance of the coordinator Carla Borba and the curators Ricardo Resende and Ana Carolina Ralston. Curators and mediators created, developed and recorded videos about the artists surveyed, in addition to Educativo producing art workshop activities.

With a direction and executive production that aligns the communication and design, audiovisual, educational, museology and curatorship sectors, our result has been great and has taught us more, with details and curiosities, about our collection, team and audience. 

From this, we promote a series of cultural, artistic and educational actions and activities on our social networks - under the title of #FAMAonline -, available on our website, Facebook and Instagram every day. They are the #Commented Works, #FAMAéCultura, #QuizFAMA, #TBT, #EducativoFAMA, #AcervoFAMA and #FAMINHA comes to you (learn more here).

At the same time, we released theBasic drawing course in times of confinement”, with the artists Adalgisa Campos and Marcia Pastore, in which we selected 15 participants for two weekly meetings from April to June. And the meetings 2020 Means and Processes Notice, that would start in April at FAMA, started online for the initial presentations. The group will continue in virtual contact with the advisor Katia Salvany and the curator Andrés Hernandez.

In June we will open the #PodcastsFAMA, being the first series on the History of Art, taught by Prof. Luis Armando Bagolin, with 6 episodes. And in August the #appFAMA. We aim to strengthen the relationship and dialogue with our audience, even though they are distant.”

                                                                      *

Inside the collection – Unable to open its doors to researchers and visitors, FAMA (Fábrica de Artes Marcos Amaro) developed a new strategy, which serves a double objective: it facilitates access, even if virtual, to its collection, and expands the work of internal organization of Your works. The idea is to gradually launch a series of online catalogs that fully reproduce the works of a number of artists with significant representation in the collection. The first trio already has its first edition ready and includes the works of Farnese de Andrade, Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato and Flávio de Carvalho, each of them with about 15 works.

At first, these virtual publications mainly cover the works, but the intention is to gradually add analytical texts about the artists and works, signed by the museum’s curatorial team (Ricardo Resende and Ana Carolina Ralston), as well as by guest critics. According to Marcos Amaro, founder of FAMA, the choice of three important authors from the mid-20th century to start publishing online publications was just a coincidence. The institution's collection, which houses most of the acquisitions made by him since 2008, when he started the collection, is quite eclectic, ranging from a Nossa Senhora das Dores, by Aleijadinho, to contemporary works. In total, there are about 5 items. Among the best represented artists in the collection, Amaro cites names such as Goeldi, Nuno Ramos, Samico and Carmela Gross.

The option for these monographic readings, in which the images of the works gain a strong prominence, was born from an empirical research. For weeks, Amaro observed the proposals for an interactive relationship broadcast since the beginning of the pandemic by different institutions and concluded that photography is still the way that allows a more effective relationship with the work. “This is still the best way to give strength to the collection and make it a research center”, he concludes.

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