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The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Atchugarry in Uruguay.
The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Atchugarry in Uruguay.

Uruguay’s First Contemporary Art Museum Opens

Uruguay on January 8 inaugurated its first major contemporary art museum. The hotly anticipated Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Atchugarry (MACA), located in the coastal resort town of Punta del Este, opened its doors to an eager public with exhibitions of the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, much of it being seen in the country for the first time, and of Argentine painter Léon Ferrari. On January 9, the first edition of the ARCA Intl. Film Festival opened at the museum. Programmed by Sergio Fant, who has served on the selection committee of the Berlinale and has programmed numerous other international film festivals, the event will run through January 14.

MACA is named for its founder, the Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry. The 75,000-square-foot museum occupies a curving Carlos Ott–designed structure of red grandis eucalyptus wood and houses the Atchugarry family’s collection of more than five hundred works, including those by Wifredo Lam, Vik Muniz, Louise Nevelson, Frank Stella, and Joaquín Torres-García. The museum, which boasts, five galleries, an auditorium, a cafeteria, and a gift shop, is the last in a series of structures set atop the sprawling grounds of the of the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, which the artist established in 2007 to promote Uruguayan art and culture. The wooded park additionally contains a seventy-piece sculpture garden, an open-air stage, and a heliport.

Leonardo Noguéz will serve the museum’s first director; businessman Roberto Vivo, a writer, will be the inaugural president of its board of trustees. The museum was funded privately and through donations. Atchugarry has described it as the “cultural heritage” he leaves for his home country. Both the museum and the festival hope to attract the many international visitors the region draws annually.