Announcement, Exhibit, Main Gallery (Kawilihan), Museum, South Wing Gallery, UP Vargas Museum

Vargas Museum Turns 25

The University of the Philippines Vargas Museum celebrates its 25th year through a series of exhibition and education programs in 2012.

Signing of the deed of donation in 1978. Image from the Vargas Archives

On March 1, 1978, the Philippines’s first Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas donated his collection of art, stamps and coins, library, and archives to his alma mater, the University of the Philippines. The Vargas Art Collection comprises works by Filipino artists from the late 19th century, the American and Japanese occupation, and the postwar years. The Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines was formally opened on February 22, 1987. The museum has been exhibiting the permanent art collection of Vargas. It is committed to providing the public access to the collection in dynamic dialogue with contemporary art. Through exhibitions, research, educational activities, and museum development projects, publications and public programs, the Vargas advances awareness of Philippine history and art. The museum fulfills this aim in collaboration with academic disciplines in the university, specifically Art Studies.

Exhibition / Research / Curatorial Projects

The Vargas Museum building in 2012

The Vargas Museum will commence the commemoration of its silver year through the opening of the Art History Series. To encourage further study of the Vargas Collection, temporary exhibitions at the 3F South Wing gallery will be curated based on art historical methods. The series will begin in May 2012 with the thematic approach, which dwells on the notion of the ‘picturesque’ in visual culture. It will re-examine ideals of beauty and expressions of nostalgia in portraiture and landscape paintings, as well as images in popular culture. The second is the monographic approach, which will focus on the lives and works of artists. It will explore the careers in painting and the graphic arts of Pablo Amorsolo and Pedro Coniconde, whose works are well represented in the Vargas Collection. The series will be rounded out by the diachronic approach, focusing on the milieu of the Philippine Commonwealth government from 1934 to 1941. This series aims to bridge the gap between curatorship and art history. It is also part of the museum’s continuing efforts to reactivate the collection and place it within a broader social context.

Following the launch of the Art history series is the opening of the Visible Storage in June 2012. The Vargas Art Collection consists of over 500 works of art, and a fraction of it can be viewed as permanent exhibition at the second floor Main Gallery of the museum. To echo important periods and themes covered by the permanent exhibition, the visible storage provides opportunities for qualified researchers and specialists to undertake an in-depth study of the collection.

Another program Track Changes is a para-site exhibition program at the Main Gallery that aims to link the art collection and the archives. This places the art collection and the archives in relation to a larger matrix of relationships. The initial exhibition is titled The Native Strain: Guillermo Tolentino and Aurelio Alvero. This exhibition probes the nativist disposition of the sculptor Tolentino and the curator-poet Alvero who went by the nom de plume Magtanggul Asa and helped Vargas form his collection. It is scheduled to open in June 2012.

Education

In addition to the exhibition programs, the museum also endeavors to develop its education mandate through the publication of the The Vargas Collection Study Guide. The guide addresses school students in grade school, high school, and college levels. It links discussion topics and activities on The Vargas Collection exhibit to the national curriculum prescribed by the Department of Education. Last year, a discussion among art educators and specialists was held at the Vargas Museum to assess the potential of the program. Participants of this forum included representatives from Museo Pambata, Philippine Art Educators Association (PAEA), UP Integrated School, Ateneo de Manila High School, Balara Elementary School, to name a few. The study guide will be launched in September 2012.

Throughout the year, the Vargas Museum will be hosting exhibitions on contemporary art at the ground floor and third floor galleries and the basement. Study guides for temporary exhibitions will be accessible online through the official website of the Vargas Museum.

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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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25-27 January 2018 | Thursday to Saturday, 3-5pm
An Ecological, The Obligatory Reading Series (Season 1)

Closing the first year of PCAN, the Public Engagement and Artistic Formation introduces an itinerant educational initiative in the form of a reading group, established to explore ideas and accommodate materials collected and discussed by the institution’s ongoing research. The reading group is a bi-monthly meeting, hosted in the last week of a month. 
The initial series of reading proceeds from the use of the term “ecological/ecology” in understanding practices of public engagement and artistic formation. In the first meeting (January 25), we will focus on Isabelle Stengers’ work that qualifies the scientific and political dimensions of the ecological as a method of creating relations and as a mode of understanding these relationships to the world. We will ask how these relations create ‘modern’ practices and their other through conceptual vectors utilized by Stengers, such as pharmakon, factishistic proposition, and constraints. The second meeting (January 26) will be an exercise on reading data and statistics about rice production and supply through Mark Sanchez’s project Rice Food Web (2017). Moderated by the artist, the session releases the interpretation of these articles into an open platform of alternative and multiple readings of information. We will ask the agency and dynamics of artistic research/artist-led research in the economy of ‘scientific’ information and policy-oriented knowledge production. In the final meeting (January 27), we will read into a history of an institution and institution-building through its documentation, collected and archived outside its context in Marawi. This session will be an encounter with the Dansalan Quarterly Journal, a community-based, interdisciplinary publication produced by the Dansalan Junior College (now Dansalan Research Foundation) in 1975. 
Session 1 | 3:30 – 5:00 PM, 25 Jan
Cosmopolitics I
Isabelle Stengers
Moderated by Renan Laru-An

Session 2 | 3:30 – 5:00 PM, 26 Jan
Reading the Web
Moderated by Mark Sanchez

Session 3 | 3:30 – 5:00 PM, 27 Jan
Dansalan Quarterly Journal Traversals/Trajectories: Expansive Localities
Curator’s Walk-through 
and Conversation with Martin Lorenzo De Mesa and Kat Palasi

25 January 2018| Thursday, 2:30-5pm, 1F Lobby

Tessa Maria Guazon, coordinator of the Exhibition and Curatorial Analysis component of PCAN, shares her ideas and processes through a curatorial walk-through of "Traversals/Trajectories: Expansive Localities" at the 1F Lobby of Vargas Museum. The exhibition explores ideas of the region and the different “practices of placeness” in Philippine contemporary art by tracing numerous strains of place making in the works of artists from different localities across the Philippines.

A conversation with two of the thirteen featured artists of Traversals/Trajectories follows the curator’s walk-through; visual storyteller and textile artist Kat Palasi and interdisciplinary artist Martin de Mesa offer insights into their art practice as well as their specific local contexts.

Place of Region in the Contemporary, the initial project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN), closes with several activities on the last week of January 2018. The four exhibitions currently on view at the Place of Region in the Contemporary introduce the four nodes of the network. 
All events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration via vargasmuseum@gmail.com preferred. Contact during office hours: 928-1927

https://pcan.org.ph/
Main event page of project on UP Vargas Museum: https://www.facebook.com/events/585701778427439/ 24 January 2018
Wednesday, 10-11:30am
Art Historiography Series: Jess Ayco in Philippine Art

The Knowledge Production and Circulation component of PCAN, coordinated by Roberto G. Paulino, identifies research themes and topics pertinent to the vision of the proposed network. For its pilot research project, it undertakes archival research on Philippine artists Jess Ayco (1916-1982), Santiago Bose (1949-2002), Abdulmari Imao (1936-2014), and Junyee (Luis Yee Jr) (born 1942). The first lecture of Roberto G. Paulino in the Art Historiography Series of PCAN through the Place of Region in the Contemporary focuses on the study of the Filipino modernist Jess Ayco who lived and worked in Bacolod.

Place of Region in the Contemporary, the initial project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN), closes with several activities on the last week of January 2018. The four exhibitions currently on view at the Place of Region in the Contemporary introduce the four nodes of the network. 
All events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration via vargasmuseum@gmail.com preferred. Contact during office hours: 928-1927

https://pcan.org.ph
Main event page of project on UP Vargas Museum: https://www.facebook.com/events/585701778427439/ The project Place of Region in the Contemporary is closing next week. Activities from 24 to 27 January are free and open to the public. Please check UP Vargas Museum page for full details. **25 January 2018** Thursday, 2:30-5pm
Traversals/Trajectories: Expansive Localities
Curator’s Walk-through and Conversation with Martin Lorenzo De Mesa and Kat Palasi

Tessa Maria Guazon, coordinator of the Exhibition and Curatorial Analysis component of PCAN, shares her ideas and processes through a curatorial walk-through of "Traversals/Trajectories: Expansive Localities" at the 1F Lobby of Vargas Museum. A conversation with two of the thirteen featured artists of Traversals/Trajectories follows the curator’s walk-through; visual storyteller and textile artist Kat Palasi and interdisciplinary artist Martin de Mesa offer insights into their art practice as well as their specific local contexts.  The exhibition explores ideas of the region and the different “practices of placeness” in Philippine contemporary art by tracing numerous strains of place making in the works of artists from different localities across the Philippines. Collateral activities are organized with the exhibition, including a discussion platform to examine impulses underlying the curatorial —those that frame and activate localities in their assertion of claims to place against an overarching globality.

https://www.facebook.com/vargasmuseum.upd/posts/10155899791262667 Roberto G. Paulino coordinates the Knowledge Production and Circulation component of PCAN. For Place of Region in the Contemporary, Paulino initiates an archival research on Philippine artists Jess Ayco (1916-1982), Santiago Bose (1949-2002), Abdulmari Imao (1936-2014), and Junyee (Luis Yee Jr) (born 1942). Born or based in the regions of Bacolod, Baguio, Jolo, and Los Baños, the artists represent the disparate conditions and production in Philippine modern and contemporary art. *****************************************24 January 2018
Wednesday, 10-11:30am
Art Historiography Series: Jess Ayco in Philippine Art

The first lecture of Roberto G. Paulino in the Art Historiography Series of PCAN through the Place of Region in the Contemporary focuses on the study of the Filipino modernist Jess Ayco who lived and worked in Bacolod. Place of Region in the Contemporary is on its last ten days of viewing. At the Sensorium of the museum's third floor, texts about artist-curator Raymundo Albano are displayed alongside his poetry and curatorial and graphic design. Visitors are encouraged to spend time to read at this area. 
Place of Region in the Contemporary is the initial project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN). https://www.pcan.org.ph

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