Arizona State University Art Museum´s International Museum Partnership with the Museu de Arte Contemporânea at the University of São Paulo [MAC – USP]

Two art museums with emphasis on works from the twentieth century, each situated within dynamic urban universities, ASUAM and MAC-USP are building a partnership to learn from one another and to expand audiences through shared programs. What we have in common is a responsibility to research, audience education, and care, preservation, and interpretation of important works of art. Each collection holds approximately 10,000 objects. How

we differ is in emphasis. MAC-USP holds a collection outstanding in the hemisphere for its depth and quality in both Latin American and European modernism. Many of its key works are icons of the century, and these are constantly being researched and recontextualized by scholars within the University and worldwide. ASUAM emphasizes work of the recent past, emerging artists, and works that bridge art and society. It is building a collection of Latin American art and an exhibition and education program in keeping with the ASU design imperatives of Global Engagement and Social Embeddedness. This project expands ASUAM programming initiatives in Latin American art by infusing the process with access to important works of art from earlier in the century that are not represented in its own collection. ASUAM museum curators are originating six exhibitions scheduled over the next three years featuring work by artists from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico. Access to works in the canon of Latin American art will elevate the level of scholarship underpinning these exhibitions that present work by contemporary artists.

To initiate this partnership, the two museums sought and received funding from the American Association of Museums under its program of International Partnerships Among Museums (IPAM). One of 17 such partnerships selected, the intention of IPAM is to advance the missions of both participating institutions with a multiplier effect of joining strengths. The first phase of the partnership is a joint web-based project that shares collections and the insights of the curators at the two institutions. The commitment to interactivity is shared. Each museum attracts about a half million viewers a year. By sharing web audiences, each museum´s website visitorship is exponentially increased.

Ideas and people are more easily transported than works of art, and the initial project electronically and interactively connects key works and commentary from each museum´s collection and staff visits. Long-range plans include ongoing exchange of staff, begun in May 2006; collaborative exhibitions; and exchange of works from the collections. Visitors will be able to view works of art from permanent collections and learn more about the history of the works. The viewer can curate a virtual exhibition drawing from the two collections. Eventually, streaming video will provide live visual access to each museum’s galleries.

IPAM was founded in 1980 to establish linkages between U.S. museums and non-U.S. counterparts with similar missions. Museums are selected for the award based on a mutually beneficial, collaborative project proposal that is submitted jointly by the two institutions. The IPAM selection committee chose the museum proposal because it educates audiences of both museums and cities about their activities and cultures, generating lasting ties between the two institutions.

For more information on IPAM go to The IPAM program is produced by the American Association of Museums and funded by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Additional support for ASUAM participation in this IPAM project is made possible with support from the Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts Dean´s Investment Fund, Friends of the ASU Art Museum, and through generous in-kind support from TAM Brazilian Airlines.