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PRINT November 2000

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the São Paulo Bienal

SINCE EARLY MAY, the São Paulo Bienal has been embroiled in perhaps the greatest crisis since its inception in 1951. Originally scheduled to open last April, the 25th Bienal was postponed twice, the curator walked out, and six council members resigned, leaving the event in limbo. Whereas previous disagreements have been resolved behind closed doors, in this case council and board members aired their views in the media, which broke the scandal wide open and badly damaged the international credibility of the Bienal Foundation. “It was a dark period in our history. People refused to return our phone calls and even the Ministry of Culture avoided speaking to us,” a member of the board of directors reported.

The crisis pitted two powerful personalities in the nation’s cultural and economic life against each other: on one side, Milú Villela, president of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo,

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