Art is the name of the game in São Paulo, and the São Paulo Art Museum (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) is the perfect illustration of that. Standing out through its revolutionary architectural design created by Lina Bo Bardi in 1968, the building is one of the landmarks of 20th century architecture.
Aiming to create a stunning building that under no circumstances was to obstruct the vistas of the lower areas of the city. This rule was established by local authorities seeking to protect the city’s main financial and cultural thoroughfare, Avenida Paulista. With this in mind, the ingenious architect put her talent to work and the result was a minimalist, modern, avant-gardist building, which distinguishes itself through its rough, geometrical surfaces, without any luxurious finishing, but which convey a sense of lightness, transparency and suspension. Noting skipped the keen eye of the architect…After all Avenida Paulista is today (and was then too) the one focal point in the city constantly buzzing with people, so the plaza underneath the building perfectly serves this purpose, making the perfect spot for friendly get-togethers as well as for public gatherings. Commonly known as ‘free span’, the museum’s plaza was designed as a public square.
If you’re into minimalist design, São Paulo Art Museum is definitely a must-visit giving you the chance to feast your eyes on the iconic crystal easels designed to display the museum’s collection hosted at the second floor of the building. Breaking away from the traditional, European style of displaying art on the wall, the easels enhance the transparent, suspended exhibition design, facilitating a better rapport between viewers and artworks.
The museum is a privately-owned, nonprofit institution founded by Brazilian businessman Assis Chateaubriand in 1947. Chateaubriand invited Italian art critic and dealer Pietro Maria Bardi to serve as the museum’s director, a position which he held for almost forty-five years. The majority of the first pieces in the museum’s collection were selected y Bardi himself and acquired through donations.
The cultural institution has gone through numerous changes since, including relocation from its initial location at 7 Abril St to where it is today, in Avenida Paulista. Home to a number of over 8,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, different objects, photographs, and costumes from different periods, including art from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Apart from the permanent exhibition, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, courses, and seminars, as well as musical, dance and theatre performances.
Visitation days and hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm, Thursday: 10am – 8pm, Monday: closed. Last visit: 30 minutes before closing.
The cost of a ticket is R$30 (adults), R$15 for seniors aged 60 and above (with ID) and students (with ID), children under 10 – free.
The ticket price includes admission to all galleries on the day of the visit. As galleries are subject to closure, some of them may not be open throughout the entire duration of your visit. Photography is allowed, provided that you do not use flashes, tripod, and/or selfie sticks. Tickets may also be acquired online.