Sunday, 20 May 2018

Cultural appropriation: less gatekeepers, more critical thinkers

"La Japonaise" by Claude Monet, Museum of Fine Arts Boston (image taken from http://japaneseamericaninboston.blogspot.com)

For Nandia

My first contact with the concept of cultural appropriation happened in July 2015 because of “Kimono Wednesdays” at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA). On the occasion of the display of Claude Monet’s “La Japonaise” (a painting of the artist’s wife, surrounded by fans, wearing a blond wig and a bright red kimono), visitors were invited to put on a kimono similar to the one shown on the painting and share their photos on social media. According to the museum, this was a way of engaging with the painting. For some people, though, the activity lacked any context regarding the garment, becoming just “fun”; others criticized it for reinforcing stereotypes and exoticizing Asian Americans; for others, it was blatant racism; (read Seph Rodney’s article). 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

“Lindonéia, the suburb’s Gioconda”: my first visit to the Pinacoteca of São Paulo

"Lindonéia, the suburb's Gioconda", Rubens Gerchman, Pinacoteca de São Paulo  (Photo: Maria Vlachou)


“Na frente do espelho
Sem que ninguém a visse
Miss
Linda,feia
Lindonéia desaparecida
Despedaçados, atropelados
Cachorros mortos nas ruas
Policiais vigiando
O sol batendo nas frutas
Sangrando
Ai, meu amor
A solidão vai me matar de dor (...)”

Caetano Veloso, “Lindonéia”

One thing I noticed right from my first visits to the museums of São Paulo (Brazil) was that long introductory texts are greatly appreciated. The exhibition "Brazilian Vanguard of the 1960s – the Roger Wright Collection", at the Pinacoteca of São Paulo, was no exception.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Museum of (my) Discoveries

Exhibition "Return - Traces of Memory", Monument odf the Discoveries, Lisbon, 2015 (Photo: Maria Vlachou)


I'm Portuguese by adoption. When I arrived in Portugal, in 1995, the only thing I knew about the history of the country had to do with the Discoveries (of sea routes and spices, taught in my country in the 7th or 8th grade). Over the years, I have been "discovering" the rest (even with regard to the Discoveries and beyond the sea routes and the spices). The story I was taught in school was, as usual, only one part.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Towards Cultural Access and Participation in Portugal


My article for the magazine Howlround, on the occasion of the IETM plenary meeting that takes place in Porto this monht. Read the article

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Art, Community and Leadership debated at the ISPA Congress

Photo: Christopher Duggan Photography
My notes on the ISPA Congress, which was held in New York City last January.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Let's set Mark Deputter free

Image taken from the newspaper Público. Photo: Nuno Ferreira Santos

It was a good exercise for all of us the with conversation with the Municipal Councilor for Culture Catarina Vaz Pinto (CVP) yesterday at the Maria Matos Theatre (MMT). As it has been a good exercise all the discussion generated after the announcement of her decision to lease MMT and turn it into a for-profit space with programming for a larger public.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Still on Maria Matos: a theatre's ethos

"Have a Great day!", by Vaiva Grainytė, Lina Lapelytė, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Photo: Simonas Svitra). Maria Matos Theatre, 2017

Ethos: (Greek éthos, -ous) noun
distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group or institution
Source: Merriam-Webster dictionary



Anne Pasternak became the director of the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 2015, succeeding Arnold L. Lehman, who had held the post for 18 years. Anne impressed me positively in her first interview for the New York Times when she stated: "I am excited to build on that ethos of welcome".

At the time of Pasternak's appointment, there were several voices criticising the choice of someone who had never worked in a museum before. However, this sentence, right at the end of the article in the New York Times, was enough for me to think: She got it! She understood "who" the museum she's going to work for is!