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This document consists of a personal invitation printed on a sheet of paper, in which “a group of people who are residents of the city” invite those who are interested in “any authentic form of culture” to attend a meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20 in the foyer of the Teatro Colón in Bogotá. The meeting, whose implications became increasingly evident as time went by, was intended as a fundraiser for the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá. The card advised recipients that plans and goals for the future museum would be announced at the meeting, and that the mechanisms for the entity’s internal operations would be explained. The objective of the initiative was to develop a space in which to exhibit Colombian art and create a cultural center in the capital city that would represent the country’s art on the Latin America stage.  


The card reviewed here is the first link in the chain of events that led to the consolidation of the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá—MAM—that was originally founded as an official entity in 1955 and re-dedicated as an autonomous institution in 1958. By 1962, however, it showed no visible signs of life. The meeting announced in this document was a decisive event in the history of the development of the MAM, because it was at this event that the founding statutes were signed, a Board of Directors was elected, and activities were planned for the 1963 season.


A comparison of the invitation card with other documents connected to the establishment of the Museum—such as the Founding Statutes, 1955; the Memorandum of Association, 1962; and the First Report of Activities, 1963—indicates that certain aspects concerning the very early operation of the MAM were discussed and agreed to at that meeting:


1. Vis-à-vis their foreign counterparts, especially at a Latin American level, the Museum was conceived as a representative of Colombian modern art. 


2. The MAM was designed to function as a dynamic cultural environment, as was apparent in the report of activities published in 1963 that included reviews of exhibitions and announced plans for musical performances, recitals, films, and educational events. 


3. The institution supported itself as an autonomous entity, with the assistance of individuals and businesses that were interested in culture and contributed in a variety of ways. Critics, artists, and agents, together with audiences that were receptive to modern art and a number of private sector sponsors, played a substantial role in the success of the project, as can be seen in the reports and catalogues that MAM printed in the months following the meeting at the Teatro Colón in Bogotá.

Alexandra Mesa Mendieta
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia