Collecting art represents the possibility of observing human diversity from a fascinating angle. It means putting into perspective points of view that depart from the apparently obvious and allow us to reflect deeply on the most varied aspects of life in society. Thus, museums and their collections are democratic spaces that foster reflection, the coexistence of differences, debate without dogma and the formation of a repertoire.
The Photography Collectors Club of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, was created in 2000, with this focus. On completing its 20th anniversary and 21st edition, it has brought together works by 107 artists who have become part of the museum’s collection and also of the private collections of hundreds of people who form or have formed part of the Club during these two decades. This exhibition is a tribute to those collectors who drive the art circuit, encourage artists and confirm the importance of the social role of cultural institutions like MAM.
For this commemorative exhibition, we were curious to understand how such choices impacted the lives and collections of the Club’s members. We visited the houses of a dozen of them to observe how the works acquired through the Club are received, displayed and stored. The photographs that show the works in these residences appear in this exhibition amidst the works of the Club that form part of the MAM collection. They are like windows through which we are able to enter the members’ house and sense a little of how they cohabit with the artists’ creations.
In the dialogue with the members we observed that the principles that shaped the creation of the Club 20 years ago are being wholly fulfilled. Many of them began their collections tentatively, based on the works of the Club. Encouraged by these acquisitions, they ended up researching artists, and the history of art and photography, and today they possess extensive collections.
The existence of the MAM Photography Collectors Club has only been possible thanks to the partnership between the museum that organizes the activities, the artists who donate their works and the members who incentivize the artistic work and the very existence of the museum. Thus, both MAM and the collectors have continued to build, year on year, a permanent collection of great importance, through which we are able to reflect on Brazilian culture, our miscegenation, our social dramas, our identity, and our capacity to reinvent ourselves despite the abuses of hierarchical power.
Art is and always will be the trench in which we seek shelter and connect with each other to activate a sensitive perception of our surroundings, and from which we create a less dogmatic, more libertarian and humanist vision. To the members of the MAM Photography Collectors Club of today, yesterday, and always, and to you who frequent the museum, we offer our most sincere thanks for helping us continue to believe in our dreams.
Curator of the MAM Photography Collectors Club