Only a limited number of museums fall into the very specific category “architecture vs. exhibition.” Namely, those who have the honor of exhibiting in an architectural icon. Because these museums are always worth a visit. And so it can happen that the exhibition becomes secondary, which begs the question whether any show could ever do justice to a building like the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói by Brazil’s architectural superstar Oscar Niemeyer?
In this case, the score is 1-0 in favor of architecture. The exhibition “From Where We See – De onde vemos” makes the fatal mistake of attaching the mandalas and ornamental art by Denise Berbert to the architecture. As the work takes over the building, the architecture cries out to be left alone, and the artwork cannot defend itself.
Unfortunately, this is not harmonious. One understands the curator’s intention to show something new. But a classic like this icon should either be completely wrapped in a new garment or as in this case–not at all.
From Where We See
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro