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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – In addition to being the financial hub of South America, São Paulo is also one of the most diverse cities in the continent when it comes to culture. Some of the most interesting, international and national, artists exhibit their work in the city’s many museums.

Brazil, São Paulo,MASP museum is perhaps the best known museum in São Paulo,
MASP museum is perhaps the best known museum in São Paulo, photo by Edson Aoki/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Visitors coming to São Paulo have a wide array of museums to choose from but three in particular should be on everyone’s list. Perhaps São Paulo’s most famous museum is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP).

Located in São Paulo’s most famous street, Avenida Paulista, MASP was founded in 1947, and has more than 10,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, objects, photographs and clothing from various periods, covering the European, African, Asian and American continents.

The imposing building itself is worth the visit. Held ‘in the air’ by four red concrete pillars, the open space underneath the building is a main gathering place for protests, demonstrations and a Sunday antique fair.

The building’s second floor stores Lina Bo Bardi’s famous crystal easels, which in the 1960s shook up the Brazilian art scene. Today it holds paintings of famous artists such as Rembrandt, Cézanne, Renoir, Manet, Matisse, Volpi and Portinari.

MASP is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10AM to 6PM. On Thursdays the museum is open until 8PM.

Another museum not to be missed in São Paulo is the Pinacoteca. Inaugurated in 1905, the Pinacoteca is the oldest art museum in the city, holding more than nine thousand works, from artists like Anita Malfatti, Bourdelle and Rodin.

The Pinacoteca São Paulo is the oldest art museum in the city, photo by Ana Paula Hirama/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Although the Pinacoteca’s main building is what most visitors see, the museum also has a second building that once was the São Paulo state’s famous Department for Political and Social Order (DOPS).

The DOPS, during the country’s military dictatorship, was the location where interrogations and reported tortures of ‘enemies of the state’ were conducted Ironically today the building houses a memorial of the resistance movement.

The Pinacoteca is opened Wednesday through Monday, 10AM to 5:30PM. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

If one wants to see the best of Brazilian contemporary and modern artists, the place to go is the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM). Located inside the Ibirapuera Park, the museum has one of the best works by graffiti artists OsGemeos.

Inside it is possible to observe one of the seven versions of Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (mother, in French), a bronze spider of 3.37 X 6.68 meter sculpture. The MAM also houses a sculpture garden designed by famous Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx with 30 sculptures in an area of 6,000 square meters.

MAM is opened Tuesday through Sundays 10AM to 6PM.

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