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The Italian journalist and art dealer Pietro Maria Bardi describes the organization and construction of the MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) during the first two decades of its existence, from 1947 to 1967. This was no easy task in the provincial environment of São Paulo at that time, when the dreams of the city of becoming a “metropolis” were as yet unfulfilled. Bardi refers to the “educational” aspect of art, and stresses the important role of the museum as a forum for the development and stimulation of the growing urban culture. He describes pedagogical activities and exhibitions organized “to inform and draw attention to problems” that are a far cry from the current hostile situation that includes criticism from the Bienal de São Paulo and the FAAP (Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado). He answers and challenges the questions concerning the museum collection as a result of historic cuts, and concerning the gossip surrounding suspicious “deals” involved in the acquisition of works at the MASP. He discusses the new museum premises and its ongoing goal of “popularizing” art.
O jornalista e marchand italiano Pietro Maria Bardi relata seu trabalho de construção e organização do Museu de arte de São Paulo de 1947 a 1967. Uma tarefa árdua dentro da provinciana capital paulista, com uma "metrópole" por construir. Descreve princípios amparados pela noção educativa da arte e pontua a importância do museu como um lugar de formação desta cultura urbana. Relata diversas atividades pedagógicas e expositivas, feitas com "intenção de informar e pontuar problemas", apesar de encontrar ambiente hostil e crítico procedente principalmente do grupo em torno da Bienal de São Paulo e da Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado. Justifica e rebate críticas ao acervo do Museu, à falta de um recorte histórico, assim como fofocas sobre arranjos escusos para a aquisição de obras. Anuncia a nova sede do museu e a continuidade da postura sempre focada na popularização da arte.
This article was written by Pietro Maria Bardi (1900–99), the Italian curator and director of the MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) who managed the museum for forty-five years until he retired for health reasons in 1992. The museum opened in 1968 in the monumental building that is an architectural landmark on the Avenida Paulista (Trianon). The building was designed by the lifelong companion of Bardi, the architect Lina Bo Bardi, with his input on the exhibition spaces and what the institutional functions of MASP should be. For more information on Lina Bo Bardi’s relationship to the museum space, see her article O novo Trianon: 1957–67 (1967) [doc. no. 1111188].
The MASP was founded as an institution in 1947; its business advisor was Assis Chateaubriand (1892–1968). Chateaubriand—who owned the largest media network in Brazil and was an influential public figure in the 1940s and 1950s—envisioned a project that would help to modernize São Paulo culture. The museum was founded during the São Paulo boom that was fueled by the coffee exporting business. No one was better placed to run it than a couple of intellectuals who had left postwar Italy in search of new cultural horizons: the businessman Pietro Maria Bardi and the architect Lina Bo Bardi. As the MASP collection was being assembled and its particular style was being determined, the Brazilian museum began to look dramatically different to the usual European models; it would include a school and would sponsor publications. In the early 1950s Lina Bo Bardi (née Achillina Bo, 1914–92) was in charge of Habitat, the MASP art magazine. The following year, in 1951, she and her husband started the industrial design course at the Contemporary Art Institute, IAC (Instituto de Arte Contemporânea), where she also worked as a teacher. At that school, which was open from 1951 to 1953, the industrial designer was—according to the first principles of the Bauhaus—considered to be one of the most important professionals in the industrial era, and was responsible for the visual identity of modern societies—[see doc. no. 1086940]. At the same time, the MASP sought to lead a movement that was interested in creating a progressive partnership with other institutions such as the Bienal de São Paulo—founded in 1951 by the Italian-Brazilian businessman Ciccillo Matarazzo—or the FAAP, an educational organization that taught art and humanities classes at its premises in the Higienópolis neighborhood.
Pietro Maria Bardi foi convidado em 1947 para criar e dirigir o Museu de Arte de São Paulo por Assis Chateaubriand. Dono da maior rede de veículos de comunicação do pais, Chateaubriand tinha um claro projeto modernizador da cultura paulistana. O museu nascia dentro deste contexto socio econômico, financiado pela elite cafeeira que construiu sua capital. Ao longo da formação do acervo e ao desenhar o perfil do museu criou-se, ao mesmo tempo, uma idéia de museu muito diferente do padrão europeu (com escola e publicações) e uma disputa com outros grupos também interessados em "formar" uma sociedade progressista (o grupo de Matarazzo em torno da Bienal e a Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado). O Museu de Arte de São Paulo veio a se consolidar após a transferência da sede para a avenida Paulista, para edificio generosamente projetado pela arquiteta Lina Bo Bardi.
BO, Lina. O novo Trianon: 1957-67. Mirante das Artes, São Paulo, n.5, set./out. 1967, p.20-21.
e- Alianças, modelos de atuação e organização da cultura. Projetos públicos.