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São Paulo Museum of Art
art museum
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São Paulo Museum of Art
art museum
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Av. Paulista, 1578
Bela Vista
Sao Paulo
Brazil

jtucker's picture

Contributor

Even if you are not the biggest art fanatic or museums simply bore you, you might want to make an exception when it comes to São Paulo.

First of all, the construction of this museum is seriously awesome. Designed by architect Lina Bo Bardi, this building is considered a symbol of modern Brazilian architecture. It is suspended in the air, held up by two lateral beams, and boy does it look cool.

The collection inside is just as impressive as the structure that houses it. The museum is internationally recognized for its collection of European art, often regarded as the finest in the Southern Hemisphere. In an attempt to get sufficient funding from donors to acquire such a vast collection, the museum resorted to some pretty bold methods of persuasion. They held banquets and even public parades through the city every time someone coughed up a substantial sum or renowned piece of art. Very Brazilian of them, no?

On a less celebratory note, in recent years there have been two attempted robberies here. The first one happened in October 2007 when two men overpowered some security guards in an attempt to steal paintings from the second floor. I guess the thieves got cold feet, because they promptly ditched the caper and ran away. Sadly, the museum was not as lucky when it came to the second theft. In the early hours of December 20, 2007, three men invaded the museum and took two paintings. The men grabbed two of the most valuable paintings, one of which was the Portrait of Suzanne Bloch by megastar artist Pablo Picasso. These two paintings alone have been estimated at about $70 million. Luckily, the paintings were recovered and since then the party museum, as we like to think of it,  has promised to beef up security.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about São Paulo Museum of Art

The São Paulo Museum of Art (Portuguese: Museu de Arte de São Paulo, or MASP) is an art museum located on Paulista Avenue in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. It is well known for its headquarters, a 1968 concrete and glass structure designed by Lina Bo Bardi, whose main body is supported by two lateral beams over a 74 metres (243 ft) freestanding space, considered a landmark of the city and a main symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.

The museum is a private non-profit institution founded in 1947 by Assis Chateaubriand and Pietro Maria Bardi. MASP distinguished itself for many important initiatives concerning museology and art education in Brazil, as well as for its pioneering role as a cultural center. It was also the first Brazilian museum interested in Post-World War II art.

The museum is internationally recognized for its collection of European art, considered the finest in Latin America and all Southern Hemisphere. It also houses an emphatic assemblage of Brazilian art, prints and drawings, as well as smaller collections of African and Asian art, antiquities, decorative arts, and others, amounting to more than 8,000 pieces. MASP also has one of the largest art libraries in the country. The entire collection has been named by Brazil's Institute of History and Art to the Brazilian National Heritage list.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about São Paulo Museum of Art.