São Paulo

A Paradise of Modern Architecture

For fans of modern architecture, São Paulo is a paradise: Oscar Niemeyer’s elegant buildings have defined the bustling metropolis more than anything else since the 1940s. The Edifício Copan in the city center is spectacular, not only for its S-shape. The reinforced concrete construction is also the largest residential building in the world. Inside is Pivô, an exhibition platform for contemporary art and curatorial experiments. A fifteen-minute drive away through heavy traffic is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), a glass building floating above the ground, ensconced by surrounding red steel beams. Renowned exhibition organizer Adriano Pedrosa has breathed new life into the distinguished collection since 2014. Opened in 1968, the museum was designed by legendary architect Lina Bo Bardi, who also transformed the Serviço Social do Comércio (SESC Pompéia) cultural center, a former barrel factory in the north of the city, into a masterpiece of brutalism in 1977. From the MASP, it’s only a few minutes walk along the bustling Avenida Paulista until you’ll reach the Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS), which offers a substantial collection of classic Brazilian photography, including Thomaz Farkas and Marcel Gautherot. A stone’s throw away you’ll find the Galeria Vermelho, a top address for Brazilian art—for example by Ana Maria Tavares and Claudia Andujar. Also within walking distance: the Casa Triângulo, whose program includes contemporary Brazilian artists such as Lucas Simões or Yuri Firmeza. Head south to escape the confines and heat of a city of 12-million inhabitants in Ibirapuera Park—a gigantic green oasis with countless bird species, which also forms the cultural center of the city. Here Lina Bo Bardi outfitted the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM) with a curved glass facade. Incidentally, Oscar Niemeyer designed its distinctive roof as well as the park’s Biennial Pavilion—a glass and concrete marvel. In addition to the Bienal de São Paulo, the SP-Arte art fair has been held here since 2005, ensuring that São Paulo’s artistic life is currently experiencing an upswing not seen since the 1950s.

Frankfurt am Main-based writer Sandra Danicke is a correspondent for the art magazine Art, where she reports on contemporary artists and all art historical time periods. In addition, she holds a PhD in art history and works as an editor for the Frankfurter Rundschau and as a freelance journalist for Die Zeit and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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