Exhibition Centro de Arte Contemporânea — 50 Years, Making Art Democratic

4 de June, 2024

‘10 June 1974. Not even two months after the Carnation Revolution, a street action in Porto was already inscribed in the history of the cultural centres and museum spaces dedicated to contemporary creation an unprecedented and unparalleled moment,’ says Miguel von Hafe Pérez, curator of the temporary exhibition “Centro de Arte Contemporânea – 50 years, Making Art Democratic”.


The exhibition, which will open at the Soares dos Reis National Museum on Friday 7 June at 6pm and will be chaired by the Minister of Culture, Dalila Rodrigues, recalls this event and evokes the history of the CAC – Contemporary Art Centre, the embryo of the Serralves Foundation and its Museum of Contemporary Art.

Starring the city’s artists and intellectuals linked to institutions such as Cooperativa Árvore, Teatro Experimental do Porto, Seiva Trupe or Cineclube do Porto, the ‘Burial of the Soares dos Reis Museum’ gave voice to a popular demand fuelled by the effervescent drive to open up to modernity, rescued from the heavy silence of the dictatorship.


Arising from a city’s demand, the CAC – Contemporary Art Centre was set up, around two years later, in the Soares dos Reis National Museum, thanks to the contributions of Fernando Pernes, Etheline Rosas and Mário Teixeira da Silva.


From 1976 to 1980, the Contemporary Art Centre promoted around 100 exhibitions and various cultural activities. Alberto Carneiro, Ângelo de Sousa, Álvaro Lapa, Júlio Pomar, Emília Nadal, Eduardo Nery, among many others, showed their artworks in anthological form for the first time in Porto.


The intense dynamism of the programme was only possible thanks to the establishment of partnerships with embassies, foreign cultural institutes and institutions, which made it possible to present important contemporary art exhibitions on national and international tour in Porto.


Curated by Miguel von Hafe Pérez, the exhibition ‘Centro de Arte Contemporânea – 50 years, Making Art Democratic’ revisits the story of this primordial adventure in the Portuguese institutional context, recreating some of its exhibition moments and bringing to light rarely seen graphic documents.


As part of the official programme for the 50th Anniversary of 25 April, the exhibition will be on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum until the end of 2024, with the patronage support of BPI and ‘la Caixa’ Foundation, and the institutional support of Círculo Dr. José de Figueiredo – Friends of the Museum.