January 22, 2022 6:53 pm

Art in Uruguay. How is the museum of contemporary works blessed by Christo and which was inaugurated this summer

El Maca, Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art in Manantiales, Uruguay, was inaugurated with a gala in style, which crowns the dream of the sculptor and the project of the architect Carlos Ott, awarded with the Luxury Life Style Award 2021.

It is the pike in Flanders for Atchugarry, who triumphs in the world with his sought-after sculptures. He has a huge workshop in Lecco, Lago di Como, Italy, where he works non-stop, as he does at the Esteña Foundation on Route 104, which will soon be a museum.

A few weeks ago the clock stopped for opening of his retrospective at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, neighboring the Duomo and the Vittorio Emmanuelle galleries. A consecrating destination, where he exhibited with an extraordinary assembly a selection of his sculptures, almost at the same time that they reached a record price at Sotheby’s in New York auctions.

The Sculpture Park, with 70 monumental works

Atchugarry is a universal Uruguayan who returns to pay to inaugurate a museum with his personal collection and an unpublished sample of Christo, the land art champion who dazzled the world in the Parisian autumn with his posthumous work: packing the Arc de Triomphe with 25,000 meters of canvas and 5 kilometers of cord.

That project, like all its “packaging”, left the board in which she worked for years, always in the company of Jeanne Claude, her partner in life and in art.

Uruguay will receive a set of 50 works selected by Jorge Helft, the Argentine collector based in France, who now lives in Trouville, that beach loved by Eugene Boudin, where he painted several of his most delightful scenes. It is an unpublished sample, with works from private collections and from the foundation that guards his legacy. The first retrospective since the artist’s death.

The inauguration of the Maca turns Punta de Este into a cultural destination, an unexpected magnet for art lovers. In fact, the presence of European, Argentine and North American collectors, who have followed the Uruguayan sculptor since he represented his country at the 2003 Venice Biennale.

The Maca is the first and only museum in Uruguay that promotes global contemporary art
The Maca is the first and only museum in Uruguay that promotes global contemporary art

As always when I interviewed him, Pablo is covered in dust and with his hands on the marble. We are in Lecco surrounded by the pieces that will go to the Palazzo Reale. It is summer, it is hot and the sun filters through the recesses of an olive tree trunk. Centennial wood that seems to speak and is part of his latest production. The olive trees are a mystery, they have a secret beauty that the artist’s hand underlines and makes unique.

Member of a family of political and professional gravitation in Uruguay, Atchugarry’s story is that of a man of two worlds. A charrúa citizen of the world. He lives and works between Italy and Manantiales, he has clients everywhere, although in fact, and I attest, the most conspicuous visitors to his workshop are Belgians.

Before talking about the museum, which is a dream, project and goal, he gives me a generous smile. You don’t believe it. He is an achiever who remains himself. The museum is the dream come true and the continuation of the Foundation of Springs, the Sculpture Park, the auditorium and its monumental workshop on route 104, kilometer 4.5, on a 45-hectare hill overlooking the west.

The building is a large wooden nave, designed by the architect Carlos Ott, which was born on a La Coupole napkin in front of a plate of oysters. The best in Paris; “De la mer a l’assiette”, say those who know.

Uruguay is a small country of great artists: Torres, Figari, Barradas, Cúneo, Iturria and Atchugarry, among many. It is also the permanent residence of hundreds of Argentines. The other side.

The Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art
The Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art

The love affair of the East with art is not new. Obligatory antecedent is Carlos Paez Vilaró with his CasaPueblo, that recognized and recognizable landscape, of whitewashed white houses that look and converse with the sea.

The Maca opens its doors months after the inauguration of FAAR, the foundation of Amalia Amoedo in José Ignacio. A gesture of the renowned patron to promote and disseminate the works and training of our artists. Neptuna, base of operations, is an incredible house sculpture designed by Edgardo Giménez in green foliage. There, selected by international curators, contemporary artists will make their residency.

Accustomed to taming giant marbles from the Carrara quarries, to create sculptures that reveal the soul of the material he loves most, Atchugarry fixed a goal that seemed impossible: inaugurate at the beginning of this summer.

Christo used fabrics to wrap and create
Christo used fabrics to wrap and createCorbis

With the profile of a ship, a deep cantilevered keel with a steel prow points to infinity on the balconette slope. The bow came from China, the red eucalyptus woods were conditioned in France and the joinery comes from Germany. Nobody talks about budget. But the bet is on excellence

The Maca, imagined by Atchugarry and designed by Ott, is the first and only museum in Uruguay that promotes global contemporary artIt will be a creative hub for the community and an exhibition space for artists from around the world.

It will have five exhibition rooms and a surrounding Sculpture Park, made up of 70 monumental works by international artists. The project includes a store-bookstore, cafeteria, theater room, auditorium and a large outdoor terrace, on a covered area of ​​5000 square meters.

The Atchugarry Foundation is a private non-profit institution, inaugurated in 2007. It was created with the spirit of promoting the arts in all its expressions and the desire to be a space for union between art and nature.

In the chapel designed by the architect Leonardo Noguez, in turn director of the Maca, there is La Piedad, an early work carved from a twelve-ton block of Carrara marble. It was held in Lecco, Italy, between 1982 and 1983. Since then, Pablo Atchugarry, with the unconditional support of Silvana, his wife, and Piero, his son, has walked quickly and without pause towards a destiny that seemed written.


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