Work by Beto Shwafaty, in the foundation's collection

In an article published in a book (“Gloves!”, in Green Wave, 1920), Monteiro Lobato declares his love for Rio de Janeiro, stating that the city, during the creation of the world, was God's storehouse. In the first six days he took all the beauties out of his warehouse and deposited them in different places: fatigued, on the seventh day he rested, leaving the storeroom in the biggest mess with beauties scattered and mixed all over the city.

This was the feeling I had when I visited the rooms that present works by the Marcos Amaro Foundation at the Marcos Amaro Art Factory (FAMA), installed in an old fabric factory built in 1903 in Itu: generous spaces with works – some truly exceptional – arranged in a expography that makes it difficult for many of them to see, a kind of warehouse requesting a greater order of visibility for the works on display or that explains, for example, the reasons why a sculpture attributed to Aleijadinho is there among others produced in recent decades. However, despite this impression of being in a place undecided between being a storage place or an exhibition space, the feeling was of fascination with that concept of Art and Culture Factory still in the process of formulation.

How will the Factory behave after the adaptations that will come soon? How many workshops will it have, how many auditoriums, what will its final appearance be? And the collection will continue to give that impression of uncertainty between storage and showrooms? An important clue to the future of the collection seems to be evident when visiting the exhibition attached to the collection rooms described here. It's about the exposure Approximations – Brief introduction to XNUMXth century Brazilian art. Curated by Aracy Amaral, the exhibition presents a selection of works from the end of the XNUMXth century to the middle of the last century. Starting with the first version of model rest, 1885, by Almeida Jr., belonging to the Marcos Amaro Foundation. In addition to this painting, others exhibited there also belong to the same institution: two Eliseu Visconti, three Portinari and one more work by each of the following artists: Pedro Américo, Castagneto, Lasar Segall, Antonio Gomide, Victor Brecheret, Cícero Dias, Ismael Nery, Di Cavalcanti, Flávio de Carvalho, Guignard and Ianelli.

Despite the established vision of what “art in Brazil” would be at that period, there seems to be no doubt that “Aproximações” (on display until June 15) behaves as a link that unites that aforementioned sculpture attributed to Aleijadinho – half lost. in the other exhibition – to the large segment of local contemporary art – the strong point of the collection. This chain that Amaral's show makes explicit signals a future for the Marcos Amaro Foundation Collection, transforming itself into a museum of Brazilian art, from the turn of the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century to the present day.

Even though this narrative about what art may have been in Brazil in recent centuries has been revised in recent years, there seems to be no doubt about how important a collection of this size will be in a city like Itu, so that new research can be developed. in the sense of – who knows – reconsidering this view of the Brazilian artistic phenomenon that has become hegemonic. After all, good works are not lacking in the collection. If in its contemporary segment – ​​under the responsibility of Ricardo Resende – works by Tunga, Fábio Miguez and Beto Shwafaty, among others, stand out, the modern segment is not far behind. After all, there are some works that will certainly remain as paradigms of the art produced in Brazil, whatever the focus, such as the paintings by Almeida Jr., Segall and Guignard present there.


After the visit, I was thinking: despite all the problems inherent to an enterprise still in the process of settlement, what a great gift for Itu the presence of FAMA in the city! What a gift for the country, in these dark times, the presence of Marcos Amaro working with all the enthusiasm of his youth in favor of art and culture. He and his public vocation collection – inside a factory that has everything it takes to become a powerhouse of art and knowledge – revive hope that all is not lost, or is being lost, in Brazil.




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