Contemporary art Brazil

Major new commissions at Brazilian art centre

Inhotim to house works by Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Chris Burden and others

New york. Inhotim Contemporary Art Center is inaugurating nine major art commissions by Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Chris Burden and Rivane Neuenschwander and five other artists on 30 September. The non-profit organisation was opened to the public in 2006 by Brazilian collector and mining magnate Bernardo Paz, and houses around 600 works of art installed in 3,000 acres of gardens, farmlands, forests and mountains in the southern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Inhotim curator Allan Schwartzman said: “We’re devoted to collecting singular works of art that exist on a scale that’s not achievable in most other environments.” The museum’s team of curators, including Jochen Volz and Rodrigo Moura, has commissioned Doug Aitken’s Sonic Pavilion, 2009, a permanent architectural installation five years in the making, which amplifies sounds detected by a series of geologic microphones positioned one mile under the earth’s surface.

Of the nine new commissions, five of the works are housed in single artist structures on the sprawling grounds. Barney’s De Lama Lâmina, 2004-09, is situated in a geodesic dome within a eucalyptus forest, and Neuenschwander’s Continent/Cloud, 2008, is located in a small farmhouse dating from 1874. Other new presentations include Burden’s Beam Drop, 1984/2008, made of 72 steel beams dropped 45 metres from a crane into a pit filled with wet cement, and installations by Edgard de Souza, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Jorge Macchi, Valeska Soares and Yayoi Kusama. Schwartzman, who has been working for Inhotim for the past six years, says curators are currently in talks with artists Pipilotti Rist, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Christoph Büchel, Matt Mullican, Rosemarie Trockel and Lawrence Weiner regarding future projects.

In the 1980s, Paz began buying tracts of land surrounding his modest farmhouse as developers threatened to destroy the natural landscape. Over time his property has been transformed into one of Brazil’s most important cultural destinations, receiving up to 2,500 visitors a day. In addition to private funding from Paz, the centre receives financial support from government and corporate sources. Aitken told The Art Newspaper: “I can’t compare Inhotim to any other place; Bernardo perseveres and makes these projects work.”

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