Prêt-a-Portinari: São Paulo Museum Struggles to Fill in the Negative Space

http://ritualcafe.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/lavrador-de-cafe.jpg
O Lavrador de café (1934), by Cândido Portinari: This iconic portrait of a migrant laborer has hit the Great Sino-Paraguayan Silk Road and left no forwarding address.

“We do not have access to the total amount of the museum’s debt. The government cannot support an indebted institution. The museum’s security system was debilitated and compromised. Investment is required to cure this situation.” Bianchi said that MASP’s 2007 accounting statements, requested by the prosecutor, were not presented at the Friday meeting as requested. Despite denying that state funds would be provided, Bianchi also stated that such a step was, in fact, necessary.

Para especialistas, governo precisa administrar o Masp: The Niemeyer-designed Art Museum of São Paulo made the news recently when a gang of art thieves waltzed in and snatched two paintings: A Picasso and an iconic Portinari portrait of a coffee-worker in the school of Thomas Hart Benton.

As the media spotlight turned to the museum, it also emerged that the cultural institution is reportedly R$100 million in debt. A proposal earlier this was to permit the construction of a some kind of transmission tower atop the landmark building — cellular or microwave repeater, I think, but I forget — to provide additional operating revenue. This provoked loud shrieks from architectural purists.

(Remember that episode of The Simpsons in which our favorite Springfieldians get into debt and are forced to let a cellular company install a transmission tower atop their home?)

G1 reports that “specialists” want the government to take over running the musuem, while state prosecutors summon museum management to explain where all the money got to.

This should make an interesting case to read alongside the administrative innovations at the Guggenheim chronicled by Paul Warner in Museum, Inc.

A similar crisis hit INCOR — a cardiology hospital famous throughout Latin America — last year when it was suddenly unable to meet its payroll.

G1 is citing state officials as denying — sort of — that the state will bail out the institution while leaving the current management in place.

O presidente do Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Masp), Júlio Neves, participa de uma reunião no Ministério Público Estadual (MPE) nesta sexta-feira (28). Ele foi intimado pela promotora Mariza Schiavo Tucunduva para discutir a situação financeira do museu, segundo informou a assessoria de imprensa do MPE. Também poderá ser discutido uma forma de o governo do estado passar a auxiliar a instituição.

The president of MASP, Júlio Neves, is meeting today (Decembeer 28) with the state Public Ministry (MPE). He was summoned by prosecutor Mariza Schiavo Tucunduva to discuss the financial condition of the museum, according to the MPE press office. Also on the agenda may be some way for the state government to come to the institution’s aid.

De acordo com a promotora, discutir a situação do museu é importante para a preservação do patrimônio cultural do país. Ainda de acordo com a assessoria de imprensa, a discussão sobre a crise financeira do museu estava sendo tratada antes do roubo ao museu, na última semana. Ronaldo Bianchi, secretário-adjunto da Cultura do Estado de São Paulo, também participa da reunião.

According to the prosecutor, debating the situation of the museum is important for preserving the cultural treasures of Brazil. According to the press office of the prosecutor’s office again, secretary, was also part of the meeting. The discussion of the museum’s financial crisis began before the robbery, last week. Ronaldo Biachni, assistant state culture

Na madrugada de quinta-feira (20), três ladrões invadiram o prédio e roubaram as telas ”O lavrador de café”, de Candido Portinari, e ”Retrato de Suzanne Bloch”, de Pablo Picasso. As obras são avaliadas em US$ 55 milhões, ou cerca de R$ 100 milhões.

In the early morning hours of December 20, three thieves broke into the building and stole the Portinari and Picasso’s “Portrait of Suzanne Bloch.” The works are appraised at US$55 million, or nearly R$100 million.

Calls for “statization” of the museum (G1)

Intelectuais e museólogos defendem a estatização do Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Masp) como a solução para a crise exposta após o furto de duas obras do acervo.

Intellectuals and museum curators defend a state-run MASP as the solution to the crisis exposed after the theft.

“Sem dúvida, existem hoje casos de museus geridos pelo governo e muito bem-sucedidos”, observa o diretor da Pinacoteca, Marcelo Araújo. “Nesse momento, o que funciona muito bem é o novo modelo de organização social (espécie de parceria entre Estado e uma associação). É o modelo da Pinacoteca e do Museu da Língua Portuguesa.”

“No doubt, there are cases of government-run museums that are quite successful,” observes Pincacoteca director Araújo.

We really like the Pinacoteca. Very simple, very groovy.

“At the moment, what works well is a new model of administration [that is a type of partnership between private-sector foundations and the government.] That is the Pinacoteca’s model, and the model used by the Museum of the Portuguese Language.

Don’t laugh. We hear the Museum of Western Iberian and New World Lusophony is actually pretty cool. The Brooklyn Museum, right by our Brooklyn home there, is similarly organized, and seems to be doing all right. Go and visit.

The creative curatorial setting they did for Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party — it is located at the heart of a sort of maze-like exhibit of historical American domestic interiors — is brilliant, we thought.

The Pinacoteca is a lovely, lovely little museum that makes clever use of a bare-bones space. I guess we already said that.

O governo de São Paulo demonstra interesse em gerir o museu. “Por mais precário que seja, ele tem mais perspectiva do que uma gestão dessas. O Estado é um ente permanente. Senão, vamos deixar tudo na mão de gangues e tribos”, diz o secretário adjunto de Cultura do Estado e ex-superintendente do Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), Ronaldo Bianchi. “É federalizado, municipalizado ou estadualizado. E a gente topa gerir o Masp.”

The state government is showing signs of interest in running the [local art barn.] “As precarious as it is, it has a better chance being run in this way. The state is a permanent entity. If it were not, we would leave everything in the hands of gangs and tribes,” said assistant culture secretary and former MAM superintendent Bianchi.

For a lurid illustration of the problem of gangs, tribes and the State, and trying to get them teased apart — there’s progress, I think — in old Brazil, see

“Os sócios do Masp poderiam ser conselheiros e continuar acompanhando o desenvolvimento da instituição, mas não seriam mais os únicos, isolados”, observa o embaixador Rubens Barbosa, ex-conselheiro da instituição, que se mostra cético, porém, quanto a uma intervenção drástica do governo.

“The [current] MASP partners can serve on the board and continue to follow the development of the institution, but they would not be the only ones, alone and isolate,” observers Ambassador Barbosa, a former museum board member, who seemed skeptical, however, about a drastic government intervention.

Note ventriloquism: It characterizes his attitude rather than quoting his words.

Denials that a bailout is contemplated:

O governo do estado não deverá injetar dinheiro para salvar as dívidas do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (Masp). A afirmação foi sustentada pelo secretário-adjunto de Cultura do estado, Ronaldo Bianchi, nesta sexta-feira (28), após o término da audiência entre o presidente do museu, Júlio Neves, e a promotora Mariza Schiavo Tucunduva do Ministério Público Estadual (MPE).

The state government will not likely inject money to pay the debts of MASP. That statement was from adjunct culture secretary Ronaldo Bianchi on Friday after a meeting with MASP president and prosecutor Schiavo Tucunduva of the MPE.

“Não há possibilidade de o estado oferecer recursos financeiros para auxiliar o Masp. O governo e o Ministério Público farão o que estiver ao alcance para auxiliar o museu”, disse Bianchi.

“There is not way for the state to offer MASP financial help. The goverment and the state attorney will do whatever is within their power to help,” Bianchi said.

De acordo com Bianchi, as contas do ano fiscal de 2007 do Masp, solicitadas pela promotora, não foram apresentadas nesta sexta pelo presidente da instituição, conforme solicitado anteriormente. Apesar de negar o envio de verbas, ele afirmou que elas são de fato necessárias.

Bianchi said that MASP’s 2007 accounting statements, requested by the prosecutor, were not presented at the Friday meeting as requested. Despite denying that state funds would be provided, Bianchi also stated that such as step was, in fact, necessary.

“Não tivemos acesso ao valor total da dívida do museu. O governo não pode apoiar uma instituição com dívidas. O sistema de segurança do museu está fragilizado e comprometido. É necessário investimentos para sanar essa situação.”

“We have not had access to the total amount of the museum’s debt. The government cannot support an indebted institution. The musem’s security system was debilitated and compromised. Investment is required to cure this situation.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s