Galleria Continua to open in São Paulo sports stadium

Photo: Wally Gobetz

Galleria Continua will open a new outpost in São Paulo, complimenting their galleries in San Gimignano, Les Moulins, Beijing and Havana. The location of the gallery is of some local controversy, situated in the Pacaembu Stadium which is part of a privatisation plan rolled out by the Brazilian city’s former right-wing mayor, now state governor, João Doria. Patrimônio SP, a consortium made up of engineering firm Progen and investment fund Savona, struck a 35-year deal to operate the sports complex, which includes a football stadium, tennis courts, running track and swimming pool for R$111 million (£20.3 million). 

Currently the swimming facilities, which also attracts hoards of sunbathers on a warm day, are free to use, a lifeline in the centre of the city that has little in the way of public space. One visitor, on hearing of Galleria Continua’s announcement, told ArtReview “the downtown gentrification never stops”.

The new management say the pool will remain free to use, at least initially, however the stadium, built in 1940, is to have its capacity reduced from 40,000 to 26,000, to make space for revenue-driving enterprises such as renting to Continua’s new gallery, along with shops, coworking spaces, restaurants, offices and event spaces. 

Eduardo Barella, president of Patrimônio SP, the consortium, told Folha de S.Paulo ‘With the demolition and the construction of a new building, will attract countless other revenue sources. Rental space, parking, sale of food and drinks. Football will no longer be the main revenue, and will instead correspond to 15 percent of our revenue.’

A press release announcing the new gallery Continua, which represents several Brazilian artists, noted ‘Art can be a driving force in a place where multiple lives come together, and, working from this perspective, the gallery will organise its programme in conjunction with the city’s important sports calendar, such as football matches, marathons and the monthly day dedicated to children. It will make use of the entire sports complex to mix, include and provide experience of art, sharing common spaces simultaneously and in synergy with the other activities of the centre, as well as creating exhibitions in different spaces whilst always remaining within the complex.’

Akio Aoki, previously of Vermelho gallery, is to act as partner to the Brazilian venture. 

In March the mayor’s office awarded a contract to manage Ibirapuera Park, which is home to various Oscar Niemeyer pavilions including the São Paulo Bienal venue and the Museum of Modern Art, to Construcap, a construction company whose president Roberto Capobianco was arrested in 2016 during Operation Lava Jato, the massive corruption investigation that has dominated Brazilian politics since 2014.

9 December 2019