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The Museum was founded on November 29, 1881 as an institution for the educational and cultural development of the Department of Antioquia and was named Museum of Zea. But after a few years, it was closed. In 1946, thanks to the Public Improvement Society of Medellin, it was reopened and turned into a non-profit organization.
In 1955, the Museum moved to the Old Mint next to the Holy Cross Church. In 1977, it changed its name to Museum of Antioquia and opened the Pedrito Botero hall thanks to a donation of works by Fernando Botero made by the artist himself, a great supporter of the institution.
In 1997, the Museum started a process of renovation supported by Fernando Botero coupled with a plan for the recovery of the surrounding area. In 2000, the institution moved to the Old City Hall. The following year, the Botero Square was inaugurated with 23 sculptures by the artist. The old building became the House of Encounter, where the Jaime Hincapié Santamaría Library is located, specialized in art books.
Today, the Museum has the world’s largest collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Fernando Botero. Also, it houses works by the most important Colombian and Antioquean artists in history including Francisco Antonio Cano, Eladio Vélez, Pedro Nel Gómez, Débora Arango, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau, Edgar Negret, Santiago Cárdenas, Luis Fernando Peláez, Luis Caballero, among many others.
One of the most important projects of the Museum has been the MDE International Encounter, which has had two editions: the first in 2007, and the second in 2011. This Encounter has allowed contemporary artists from all over the world to come to the city. They have not only exhibited their work but also have worked hand in hand with the communities to develop projects and exchange knowledge with other artists and the public.
The collection of the Museum of Antioquia has more than 5,000 exhibits, which speak of the rise, the trajectory and the transformation of the Department of Antioquia and the country, and their artistic expression. The Museum continuously revises, divulges and expands its collection, which includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, documents and historic pieces, among other items.
The Museum has seven permanent exhibition halls: the Intercultural Dialogs Hall, the Colonial and Republican Hall, the Botero Hall, the International Art Hall, the 19th Century Hall, the 20th Century Hall and the Luis Caballero Hall.
Temporary Exhibitions and Activities
The Museum of Antioquia offers all year round temporary exhibitions of local, national and international artists that both speak of the current world’s art scene and keep alive and divulge the memory of the region. Recent exhibitions include “Antioquias – Diversity and identity imaginaries,” in which the Museum did a critical review of the imaginaries of Antioqui-ness through historical and iconic pieces of its collection and contemporary art; “68, 70, 72. Coltejer Art Biennales,” an exhibition of works and archives of the events that marked the city’s artistic renovation towards modern art. Also worth mentioning is “ORLAN: Carnal art or obsolete body,” with which the French artist visited Medellin for the first time.
Throughout the year, the institution offers educational and cultural programs for the education of the public and the participation of the community. These include academic forums, musical concerts, artistic creation labs, poetry workshops, and film cycles, among others.
Also, the institution has deemed important to be present outside its building and has worked with the communities in different parts of the city and the department, and used the surrounding public space to carry out activities, such as guided tours through Botero Square.
(From information of the Museo de Antioquia.
Translation from Spanish: Marina Torres)
Encuentro Internacional de Art de Medellin 2015, 6 November 2015 - 27 March 2016, Colombia. Theme: Local Stories / Global Practices. Artistic director: Nydia Gutiérrez. Curatorial team: Fernando Escobar, Tony Evanko, Edi Muka & Sharon Lerner. 59 artists and groups from 21 countries