What is art? It’s a good question, but one that starts to beat you round the head after a few hours strolling through the Tate Modern in London. A plank of wood in a white room. Some kind of mechanical implement sat on a wooden table. A chair with a hole in it. Each with a descriptive note talking about renewal, memory, touch. Really?
I was fading by the time I reached the fourth floor, where I sauntered into a room that seemed to be selling souvenirs. But the logo wasn’t Tate’s. Looking closer, I noticed something strange: the pencils, erasers, notepads, cups — all lined up on a shelving unit — bore the logo “LiMAC” and “Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima.” Excuse me, what?
For this particular installation, the descriptive note on the wall was enlightening:
“Sandra Gamarra, 1972 (Born and works Peru) — LiMac Museum Shop, 2005 (Mixed media) —
LiMac (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima) is a fictional museum created by the artist Sandra Gamarra who acts as ‘curator.’ The museum’s collection is mostly made up of painted copies of a wide selection of artworks by well-known contemporary artists. Gamarra has designed a logo and branding for the museum as well as museum merchandise and a website. She sees LiMac as a way of addressing the fact that there is no dedicated museum of modern or contemporary art in her native Peru.”
Sandra Gamarra, I salute you (for what it’s worth). And I highly recommend the LiMAC website (li-mac.org), an absolute masterstroke of inventiveness and humour.
As for the lack of a real Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima, it’s more than evident that the city — and the country — is ready for a real LiMAC. Lima is bursting with art, both in small galleries and on the streets.
Back in June 2012, I found myself in Galería Germán Krüger Espantoso (Av. Angamos Oeste 160, Miraflores), where Kukuli Velarde’s “Patrimonio” exhibit blew me away. The Peruvian artist’s paintings and ceramics were graceful, irreverent and witty, as you can see at www.kukulivelarde.com.
The streets of Lima, of course, are a blank canvas for some artists. Above and beyond the tagging and scrawling of quick-fire graffiti, you’ll find some impressive works of urban art dotted around the capital. Take, for example, the 2012 work by DCT, located above Chef’s Cafe on Av. Larco, Miraflores (the figure lies on a slab, the trucks taking away his heart — a Conga mine reference?).
The MAC-Lima Project
There’s real talent in the City of Kings, that’s for sure. One entity working towards building a home for contemporary art is the Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo (IAC). The IAC is in charge of the MAC-Lima (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Lima) project, the goal of which is the construction of a contemporary art museum in Lima
According to the MAC-Lima website, “The project… sets out the construction and implementation of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC-Lima) in an area of 14,651 m2 assigned by the Municipality of Barranco.”
(Update: The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Lima (MAC-Lima) is now open and fully operational. It is located at Av. Grau 1511 in Barranco)
Sounds good… In the meantime, you can find a handful of contemporary art museums in Peru, located outside the capital. There’s the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Cusco, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Trujillo and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Arequipa. If you have any further recommendations for contemporary art galleries or exhibits, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!