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MAR: a new pop icon is born?

Governor Daniel Scioli (centre) flanked by Jorge Telerman, Nacha Guevara and Soledad Silveyra.
Cutting-edge contemporary arts centre opens in Mar del Plata

MAR DEL PLATA — “This is the new icon of national art.” Too big a statement? Those were the words of BA Province Governor Daniel Scioli when he inaugurated the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAR, Contemporary Art Museum) at the coastal resort of Mar del Plata.

When it comes to art in Argentina (mainly cutting-edge art) three names come to mind, all located in Buenos Aires, the country’s cosmopolitan city par excellence: the Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Contemporary Art Museum), and the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (Malba, Museum of Latin American Art).

“This museum will have a huge social and economic impact and will be a motivational force for artists and creators,” Scioli assured during Friday’s inauguration. “It’s a cultural space like many others in cities like Madrid, Paris and, of course, Buenos Aires,” he said.

The MAR, Scioli continued, consolidates Mar del Plata’s position as an international tourism destination. Other than tourism (its main activity), Mar del Plata also hosts national and international forums and conventions all year round, and the Contemporary Art Museum will hopefully add to the city’s attractions.

Grandiose as the governor’s assertions may sound, the MAR’s numbers are overwhelming: a total surface of ten thousand square metres designed by Monoblock, the architecture consortium that won the bid for design and construction of the museum in 2009. Monoblock designed the building, located at La Perla Norte beach neighbourhood, with an ample esplanade expanding onto the sea for a spectacular view of the ocean. In keeping with the “Modern Art” tag, avant garde visual artist Marta Mi-nujín is scheduled to stage a “happening” called El lobo de mar (The Sea Lion). Minujín, an emblematic pop icon herself, has conceived El lobo de mar as an iron structure covered with eight thousand boxes of alfajores (sandwich biscuits), a Mar del Plata gastronomic staple tourists take back home when their vacation is over.

“It’s similar, in a way, to maestro Fioravanti’s magnificent statues at Playa Bristol, but made with boxes of Havanna alfajores, because no-one leaves Mar del Plata without strolling the Bristol and watching the lobos and eating an alfajor,” Minujín said.

Visual artist Edgardo Giménez, another pop icon himself, has set up a megainstallation called Monumental Moria, in reference to star revue and media personality Moria Casán, whose larger than life persona is a pop icon as much for her stage performances as for her bold, daring public statements.

The museum’s inaugural exhibition, Ola Pop en el MAR, gathers visual artists and performers who will stage their shows at MAR’s auditorium.

Curated by Rodrigo Alonso, Ola Pop is a nostalgia-ridden tribute to the avant garde art of the ‘60s, which left an indelible imprint on Argentine and foreign art with its daring exhibitions, performances and installations. MAR’s current season features art exhibitions, more than 40 activities, thirty music shows, 300 artists and 100 movies. Museum hours will be Tuesday to Friday from 5pm to 11pm, with free entrance.

The music lineup is a veritable pop concoction: Nacha Guevara, Palito Ortega, Kevin Johansen + Liniers, Peteco Carabajal, Elvis Vive / John Mc Inerny, Tributo a Olmedo, Manuel Wirtz and guests, Danger Four Beatle Tribute Band, Escalandrum, and musical diva Elena Roger, among others. The museum is also planned as yet another nightlife staple in Mar del Plata, featuring performances by rock bands and DJs.

—Herald with online media

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