Sep 16, 2010

Instituto Moreira Salles, a cultural space a stone´s throw from Gávea´s busy neighborhood.

by Antonella Kann

I realize that I should be writing more often about Rio, but as I focus on the city in the Portuguese version of the blog, it slips away among many other destinations. I do apologise for not mentioning it more often in English and promise I´ll make up for it. So, this one is specially for readers who have an inclination for photography.

It´s been some time since I had last visited the Instituto Moreira Salles, a charming cultural haven nestled in the midst of Gávea´s neighborhood. I was there for lunch with some friends at the cozy Café Galeria, their small restaurant where they serve delicious salads, quiches , pastries and pasta dishes. The menu is not very sophisticated, but the options are tasty.

There´s always something going on inside this imponent modern building, which was designed in 1940 and for several years served both as the residence of the respectable Moreira Salles family as well as the meeting point for important political and social events during the last decades of the 20th century. All this before being transformed into a low profile (but sophisticated) cultural hub.

Since 1999 until nowadays, following some refurbishments, the IMS became "the place to go" for any out-of-the-beaten-path exhibit, a cultural centre in general and a permanent reference for photography shows. You´ll find two spacious venues and the most incredible collection of images from Brazil, but most of all, from Rio de Janeiro.

Works by Marc Ferrez, Marcel Gautherot and José Medeiros are some of the photographers who have their works preserved and often exhibited for the public. Special techniques have allowed the IMS´ specialists to perform amazing restorations on many endangered historic images.

On the other hand, if you are a movie fan, you can splurge into the weekly selection of the IMS´ films. There´s a small theater/cinema where they regularly come up with those unforgettable titles – think the “Noir” series, b&w classics, and even more recent hits, like Scarface …remember???

Ok, let´s say movies are not your cuppa tea, so try browsing the library with hundreds of titles regarding photography and the life of photographers, Brazilian History and even stationary gadgets and ceramics. So you can even do some cultural shopping and go home with an original gift.

But you can also just step in to stroll around, have a glance at the latest exhibition, and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the terrace, by the pool, sipping a coffee and reading a book. The IMS has a green area surrounded by great views of the Pedra da Gávea , where you´ll feel secluded and really out of reach.

Instituto Moreira Salles
Rua Marquês de São Vicente 476
Tel. 21 3284 7400
opens from Tuesday to Friday from 13h to 20h and Saturdays , Sundays and holidays from 11h to 20h. Free entrance.

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