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Rio’s renaissance: 3 new museums

Admittedly, most visitors come to Rio de Janeiro to enjoy the sun, sea and magnificent views from the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain. Art and culture are usually not on top of the list. However, the inauguration of various new prestigious art museums may change all that.

With the Football World Cup in 2014 and the upcoming Olympic Games in 2016, Brazil has been investing not only in new stadiums but also in infrastructure. Streets are being repaved, the subway expanded and old colonial neighbourhoods renovated. To entertain the large numbers of expected visitors, the city’s cultural calendar is being extended. From local art to life in the future: the 3 most exciting new museums in Rio are listed right here.

The brand-new MAR
The brand-new MAR

Rio de Janeiro

The undulated roof of Museu de Arte do Rio

Carioca art

The Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR) is housed in 2 contrasting buildings: a neoclassic colonial palace and a modernist former police station. Architectural firm Bernardes Jacobsen combined these 2 buildings into one complex underneath a striking undulated white roof. The museum focuses on local artwork with colourful modern pieces; the museum is a great boost for the previously unsafe port area on Guanabara Bay. Also visit the Museo de Arte Moderna do Rio (MAM), which is situated close to Santos Dumont Airport.

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Museu de Arte do Rio, Praça Mauá 5, Centro, Rio de Janeiro,

A palace filled with Latin-American art

It was in a neoclassic palace in Botafogo that Swiss art collector Ruth Schmidheiny found the perfect location for her prestigious private collection of 1,200 works by 117 Latin-American artists. From established artists to upcoming talent, these pieces are on display at Casa Daros. Schmidheiny financed the purchase (6.7 million euros) and a lengthy renovation (21.4 million) with her own money, and admission fees will be used to purchase new works of art. In addition to a museum store, the ground floor also features restaurant Mira!, one of Botafogo’s new culinary hotspots.

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Art in Casa Daros

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Casa Daros Latinamerica, Av. Lauro Sodré 150, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro,
Santiago Calatrava’s museum

The future Museum of Tomorrow

Close to the MAR, in the port area which is undergoing a very comprehensive make-over, another landmark is under construction: the Museu do Amanhã is designed by Santiago Calatrava, the architect who is renowned for the design of his City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. The Museum of Tomorrow will be dedicated to life in the near future and will be housed in an appropriately futuristic structure: an elongated curved white spaceship-like building on a pier in Guanabara Bay. Opening by 2015.

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Museu do Amanhã, Av. Rodrigues Alves 10, Centro, Rio de Janeiro,

Photo credits

  • The undulated roof of Museu de Arte do Rio: Andrés Otero, MAR
  • Art in Casa Daros: Mariana leme, Flickr
  • Santiago Calatrava’s museum: