A cultural trip in São Paulo city and its amazing museums

Luciane Oliveira | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Discover new ways of interacting with art and get to know more about Brazilian creations!

MASP : modern art from a different perspective

"MASP," the abbreviation of “Museu de Arte de São Paulo,” -which means São Paulo Museum of Art- was the first modern art museum in Latina America. The museum was founded in 1947, but it was only in 1968 that it was transferred to its actual address, “Avenida Paulista,” the heart of the metropolis. The modern building, made by glass and concrete, was designed by Lina Bo Bardi, who intended to give a sense of floating space. The suspended construction held by two massive concrete beams creates an impact. Besides provoking a feeling of light, it also provides an extensive ground-level area, designed to be a place for multipurpose activities. This immense free span, as it is called, is indeed a place for gatherings and social events. Every Sunday from 8 to 5 pm, the famous antique market takes place right on this spot. It is one of the most famous street markets in the city.  

Appreciating the museum building that became a “masterpiece of 20th-Century architecture” is already a pleasant entertainment. However, the interior causes an astonishing impression: all artworks are presented in transparent glass displays hung up in the middle of the gallery. The floating sensation from the outside is also visible on the inside. The art collection suspended in transparent frames, gives the public the freedom to circulate and observe them from every angle, even backward. Another peculiarity is the absence of a recommended direction; therefore, the visitor can choose his own path through the museum. Those features increase the engagement between the art piece and its observer. It is, indeed, a different way of interaction. 

Besides the permanent collection, MASP promotes a broad program with exhibitions, workshops and other lectured activities that embrace the museum’s mission “to promote critically and creatively, dialogues between past and present, cultures and territories, through the visual arts.” 

Check the museum’s agenda before you go and enjoy the transformative experiences it proposes.

© istock/ Luciano_Marques
© istock/ Phaelnogueira

To have a deeper interaction with Brazilian art, I recommend you to visit “Pinacoteca de São Paulo,” located in the downtown area of the city. Initially constructed to be an art school called “Liceu de Artes e Ofícios,” the building that holds the museum is another landmark. Historically speaking, it was the first art museum in the city, and it emphasizes Brazilian production from the nineteenth century to the present day.

The extensive renovation that happened in the late 1990s accentuated its magnificent architecture. I personally admire the original exposed brick façade, that, combined with the lighting project added during the remodeling, transformed the building into a majestic sight.

In 2004, the museum incorporated another building that used to be a warehouse and offices for the local railroad company, “Sorocabana.” For this reason, the museum changed its name to “Estação Pinacoteca,” but it is warmly called Pina Estação. The new project embraced a part of temporary exhibitions from the museum. Another exciting feature of the museum is “The Memorial to São Paulo Resistance.” This institution was created to preserve the memories of the resistance and the political pressure that took place in Brazil, during the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985.

In addition to its permanent collection, Pina Estação offers many interesting exhibitions. I am sure you will have a pleasant visit. 

© istock/ Alfribeiro
© istock/ diegograndi

MIS: São Paulo's favorite museum

"MIS," the short for "Múseo da Imagem e do Som" (Museum of Image and Sound, in English) is one of the most popular museums in the metropolis. Founded in 1970, MIS has a permanent collection of 200,000 items that include photographs, films, videos, and posters. Despite the national and international exhibitions offered by MIS, what really makes it the locals' preference, is the wide variety of cultural programs targetting all sorts of audience. The activities include cinema, dance, music, video, and photography. For instance, "Cinematographo" is a program that projects silent movies with a live band. Doesn't it sound fascinating? Among several projects developed by the museum, the "Etéreo MIS," is another initiative dedicated to supporting independent national music. For the young public, there's a children's marathon, proposing free activities for the little ones and their families. Those and many other educational projects offered by the museum make it the busiest cultural center in the city. 

Before you plan your visit I suggest you check the museum website to see the current program. There are always lots of amazing things going on. It is guaranteed to have fascinating things to see or to listen to, while visiting MIS. Enjoy it!

© Commons. Wikimedia/ no author

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