Magazine article Artforum International

Submarine Launching

Magazine article Artforum International

Submarine Launching

Article excerpt

This June sees the opening of the Museu de Serralves, Portugal's first major museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art. Designed by renowned Portuguese architect Alvaro Silva and located in the northern-coast city of Porto, the institution is dedicating its permanent collection and exhibition programs to Portuguese and international art from the mid-'60s to the present. "Until now the international contemporary art community has not had a major permanent venue in Portugal," says Vicente Todoli. But Todoli, who made a name for himself at the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) in Spain, where he served as chief curator and artistic director until 1996, has well-founded hopes that the new museum "will enable Portugal to become an important part of the international dialogue."

Owned and operated by the Fundacao de Serralves (a ten-year-old partnership between the government and a consortium of Portuguese businesses and benefactors), the museum is set on the grounds of a forty-four-acre park of formal gardens, pastures, and woods in the heart of Porto. In contrast to the foundation's home in the Casa de Serralves - a landmark Art Deco mansion of the '30s - the new Silva-designed building nearby is a striking construction of concrete, glass, and granite that Todoli describes as "reminiscent of a submarine half emerging from the green of the park." The new space provides 4,500 square meters of exhibition space, a 300-seat auditorium, and a restaurant. …

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