The Building and Galleries

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The building of the museum was formally inaugurated in 1987, almost nine years after Mr. Vargas bequeathed his collection to the University of the Philippines.

The multi-level architecture was designed to support the museum’s diverse functions. It has a bookshop and space for the museum’s community arts program and a café for the museum and the university’s visitors.

The Ground Floor. This is the main access to the building. Its front lobby serves as the main reception area with stairs leading to the other levels of the structure.

This floor features areas for changing exhibitions. The Lobby, hosts temporary exhibitions, lectures, meet-the-artist sessions, book launchings, poetry readings and music recitals and concerts. Another area designated for changing displays on the west side of the building is the West Wing Gallery that stretches the whole area of the western portion and also covers the back side of the building. This area is designated for major solo exhibitions or group shows of contemporary artists.

The Second Floor. Visitors will find on this floor The Main Gallery of the museum where the exhibit of the permanent art collection is displayed. On occasion it hosts special exhibitions such as those touring from abroad or local collections that require ideal conditions for display.

The Third Floor. This level houses the archives, library and the Vargas memorabilia. It also has an exhibition space called The North Wing Gallery where photography and mostly contemporary art are exhibited. The South Wing Gallery holds thematic exhibitions of the permanent art and archival collections.  Technical and artistic support services personnel – curator, researcher, specialist and staff – also hold office in this level.

The Basement. This is the Vargas Museum’s activity center where workshops and community arts programs are held.

Vargas Policy and Map

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ADVISORY: In compliance with the announcement from Chancellor Michael Tan, the museum will be closed today, 23 April 2019. Summer Art Workshop with Mr. Fernando Sena is also suspended today. Inquiries: vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph
ADVISORY: In observance of the Lenten season, the museum will be closed on 17 April, 12 noon to 20 April 2019. Viewing of galleries and office operations will resume on 23 April 2019. Inquiries: vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph
Revisiting the Conservative 2019 Vargas Museum Art History Series Exhibition 3F Galleries 16 April - 15 June 2019 The Vargas Museum returns with its fifth iteration of its Art History Series exhibiting works from the Vargas collection curated based on art historical methods. The series strengthens the museum's efforts to continuously situate and contextualize its collection within today's social setting through the interaction between curatorship and art history. Revisiting the Conservative presents the realist traditions of painting idyllic scenes and themes exploring the Philippine landscape from the 1940s to the 1970s. The conservative as a category marks a particular stylistic tendency in Philippine art history. In terms of source, it can be traced to the academic realism of the nineteenth century that found its most prominent articulation in the exalted works of Fernando Amorsolo. It has been cast as a binary opposite of modernism as advocated by the practice of such artists as Diosdado Lorenzo and Victorio Edades. A body of polemical texts and institutional history sustains this interpretation even as the binary might not hold under a closer reading of the works and a more thoughtful appreciation of the artistic biographies of the practitioners, who slip in and out or even away from art history's order of things. In the possession of the collection of Jorge Vargas is a trove of pieces that exemplifies this conservative disposition. The latter would later be identified, or even conflated, with commercial art sold on Mabini Street, thus the term "Mabini Art". The exhibition scans the shift of realism in Philippine art as well as expressions of the supposed antithesis of the privileged modern. The exhibition consists of works by artists such as Elias Laxa, Romeo Enriquez, Cesar Buenaventura, Crispin Lopez, Serafin Serna, Miguel Galvez, Isidro Ancheta, Antonio Dumlao, Wenceslao Garcia, Gabriel Custodio, Ben Alano, Simon Saulog, and Diosdado Lorenzo. It also features a screening of the film Mga Uod at Rosas (1982), directed by Romy Suzara and written by Edgardo M. Reyes.
The Study Guide for The Nature of the Collection is now available for download: bit.ly/VMStudyGuideNature To view and download Study Guides for 2019, please visit: bit.ly/UPVMStudyGuides2019 The guides are designed for discussions and activities for classes in Humanities, Social Sciences, and other fields related to the exhibitions. It is encouraged that course tutors/teachers have a pre-visit to the exhibitions before the class’s actual visit. The study guides may be reproduced.
ADVISORY: The museum will be closed on 9 April 2019, Tuesday, in observance of Araw ng Kagitingan. However, the workshop area will be open for the 2019 Summer Art Workshop by Fernando Sena. Office operations and viewing of galleries resume on 10 April, Wednesday. Inquiries: vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph
ADVISORY: The museum will close early at 1 PM on 6 April 2019, Saturday for scheduled fumigation of galleries and offices. Interested participants of the 2019 Summer Art Workshop by Fernando Sena are encouraged to complete their registration this week. Office operations and viewing of galleries for next week will resume on 10 April, Wednesday. Inquiries: vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph

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