A new home for Philippine contemporary Art

The Philippine cultural landmark that makes art accessible to all, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, is taking a new direction this year as it redefines itself with heightened focus on local and foreign contemporary art.
Curator of Met Museum’s Philippine Contemporary exhibit, Dr. Patrick Flores
At the height of success of the Philippine brand of contemporary art--with more local artists' works fetching critical acclaim and high demands in international art galleries, not to mention record-breaking performances in art auctions--the Met's new board of trustees, with art publisher and educator Tina Colayco at the helm, revitalizes the 37-year old art institution to make it the country's leading museum and resource center for Philippine contemporary art and design. "Contemporary art transcends boundaries and language, that's why for this museum [with a philosophy of bringing 'Art for All'], we felt that it would be an important strategy to really focus on contemporary art," says Colayco. The Met Museum, located inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, is responsible for the conservation of some of the country's national treasures. Its basement gallery houses the pre-colonial gold and pottery artifacts as well as the religious images and objects produced during the Spanish colonization. It is now taking a different direction and wants to reach a wider audience. "We want Met to be known for contemporary art," says well-known art critic and curator Dr. Patrick Flores.
Nunelucio Alvarado’s Dahon Nga Dalitan (Makamandag na Mga Dahon) oil painting (1996).
Curated by Flores, The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Possible is a landmark permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum which opened to the public last February 8. It encompasses a wide range of forms, from paintings, installations, visual culture and popular media such as comics, photography, film, and video. The Philippine Contemporary is composed of permanent and temporary exhibits with around 200 art pieces coming from loans, Met collection, and BSP collection. The sections in the permanent exhibition titled Horizon, Trajectory, and Latitude frame the contexts of modern and contemporary art from the early 20th century up to the present. Two Fernando Amorsolo paintings from the BSP collection, works of the Philippines' "Triumvirate of Modern Art" Victor Edades (1895-1985), Carlos "Botong" Francisco (1912-1969), and Galo Ocampo (1913-1983) and pieces by some of the 13 pioneers of modern art in the country are included in the exhibition. The exhibit for the three permanent sections will run for a year.
Louie Cordero
Meanwhile two sections, Sphere and Direction, that will run for six months will represent the moving and evolving contemporary art. A special presentation of contemporary art from the collection of Paulino Que will be on view at the lobby's Tall Galleries to complement the permanent exhibition. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila opens from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
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