Announcement, Art, Exhibit, Museum, UP Vargas Museum, West Wing Gallery (Edge)

Reply to the article “A little bit of flexibility”

Two weeks ago, the Vargas Museum sent to Business World through email, fax, and priority post a rejoinder to the article “A little bit of flexibility” by the reporter Sam Marcelo. A significant time has lapsed and the paper has not acknowledged receipt of the letter. In the interest of fairness, the Vargas is posting the same on its website, with reference to the link to the newspaper article. It is still the hope of Vargas that Business World air its side on the same page the museum had been mischaracterized.

8 December 2010


Associate Editor

Business World

Dear Ms Herrera:

We write to air our side in reference to the article written by Ms Sam Marcelo that appeared in the Arts and Leisure section of Business World on 16 November 2010. In the quotes attributed to Mr Norberto Roldan and Mr Steve Eland, the Vargas Museum is portrayed as demonstrating lack of flexibility with regard to contemporary art projects, a conclusion they formed based on their experience with the museum through the Immemorial project they organized at the Vargas. Had Ms Marcelo asked for our take on the matter, we would have explained to her that the Vargas Museum has always been open to the logistical requirements of contemporary art. We also know full well that these demands and the creative process are not separate. Thus as an institution, we patiently try to mediate between museum policy and the exigencies of current expression. It will be in bad form to belabor the details of this mediation in your paper. But we would like to state that the museum was never remiss in advising the organizers about the rules of engagement with the space at the outset and that we could only allow for so much improvisation given our limited resources for upkeep. We imagined that a sensitive curatorial approach would have been able to work around these creative constraints. Unfortunately, it seems that both Mr Roldan and Mr Eland have failed to appreciate the delicacy of this balance all together and think that if things do not go their way, the museum infringes on artistic options. What dismays us the most is Mr Eland’s rather impolitic and uncharitable comment, coming as it does from a visitor to the local art scene with scant knowledge of its contexts, that if the Vargas were truly “serious” in being a contemporary art space, it should “learn a little flexibility.” The museum has had its share of contemporary art projects in its premises, many of which have been logistically and conceptually challenging as your reporter might herself confirm. We were able to stage them without much conflict with artists and organizers who were judicious, sensible, diligent, collegial, decent, competent, and most of all responsible. Running a university art museum with a colonial and modern art collection and contemporary art spaces is not without its difficulties. Maintaining its infrastructure over time and simultaneously addressing the necessities of contemporary art can, indeed, be tough and tricky. We take this latitude “seriously.”

We hope that this letter has clarified our position.

Thank you very much.

With collegial regards,


Patrick D. Flores



About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.


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>upgrade | Homo sapiens sapiens | Yan Abeledo is running at the 3F Galleries until 27 October 2017. For tour inquiries and requests, please send a message to The object featured here is part of Abeledo's installation titled "Progenitors." The artist used discarded laboratory materials in some of his pieces for the show. #videoart #installation #medicalequipment #micropipettetubes #plastic #glitch Green Go Home
Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija with Buen Abrigo, Mike Adrao, Renz Lee, Gabby Nazareno, Archie Oclos, Iggy Rodriguez, and Jo Tanierla
Opening reception: 13 Oct (Friday) at 4pm
runs until 18 Nov 
1F Galleries

Described as “social sculpture,” the project dwells on, magnifies, and renders the gesture of protest looming, urgent, and lively in current time and present political life. Conceived by collaborators Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija, it has been organized in Colombia, the United States, and Spain. It consists of found images on newsprint which are pasted directly onto the walls of the site and interacting with graffiti text with which it shares pictorial space. Inflected by the charged term “gringo” that reels off the title when it is read, the exhibition evokes the history of foreign interventions and the resistances against them worldwide. According to Vu and Tiravanija, “the provocation inherent in Green Go Home is positioned against the subtle underlying subtext of U.S. interventions, and colonialist attitudes, towards its neighbors in Latin American from Mexico southwards: an antagonism that has cost many lives and much strife. In the imagery itself, the presence of each character-from films to music to personalities of resistance-reveals itself to the viewer as addressing the condition of the graffiti text. The grid holds up the statement and reinforces the layers of interpretation, readings, and misunderstandings. Green Go Homeis meant to be a wall of resisters, and of resistance.” This year, Green Go Home goes to UP Vargas Museum. Through collaborations with contemporary Filipino artists, images of recent protest actions in the Philippines will be drawn on the walls of the Vargas as the exhibition progresses. The exhibit seeks to review our notions of history by contributing to a specific history of protest through interactions with the audience. The Vargas develops a timeline of protests to be accompanied by discussions as an integral part of the exhibition. Mid-month opening at the 1F Galleries: "Green Go Home" project by Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija with Buen Abrigo, Mike Adrao, Renz Lee, Gabby Nazareno, Archie Oclos, Iggy Rodriguez and Jo Tanierla on 13 October, Friday at 6pm. Exhibition will run until 18 November.

Regular viewing at 3F Galleries: Yan Abeledo's ">upgrade | Home sapiens sapiens" until 27 October 2017

For group tour bookings, please e-mail us at @pamquinto on Roldan's "Erehes" and "Salvahe" 
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#erehes #salvahe #norbertoroldan #ritualsofinvasionandresistance #vargasmuseum #exhibit #art #artph #contemporaryart #neon #lights #text #vintage #objects #vsco #vscoph #vscocam Today is the last day to view Norberto Roldan's "Rituals of Invasion and Resistance" at the 1F Galleries. We thank all who visited the show. Viewing is until 5pm today. More photos from tonight's opening! #YanAbeledo

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