José Olympio da Veiga Pereira is the new president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, elected by the foundations’ Executive Board on Tuesday, December 11. His mandate lasts two years, and he can be reelected for two more. José Olympio takes office on January 2, 2019, with the aim of enlarging the Bienal’s connection with the city, as well as with its varied public and with international institutions.
On the same occasion, Julio Landmann was elected as chairman of the Executive Board. Engaged with the institution for decades, Landmann already served as the foundation’s president from February 1997 to February 1999. During his mandate, the 24th Bienal de São Paulo ‘Bienal of Anthropophagy’, was held, curated by Paulo Herkenhoff. In recent years, Landmann has been a board member active in various of the foundation’s work groups.
The New Management
With a thorough knowledge of the visual arts scene, José Olympio has extensive experience within the international art world: in 2016 he led the creation of the foundation’s International Advisory Board and served as its first president. As a member of the Executive Board, he participates in the current management of the International Committee and the institution’s Governance and Ethics Committee.
José Olympio begins his mandate with a completely renewed Board of Directors, consisting of Andrea Pinheiro, Ana Paula Martinez, Fernando Schuler, Lucas Melo, José Francisco Pinheiro Guimarães and Luiz Lara. His vice president will be Marcelo Mattos Araujo, member of the Bienal’s Executive Board since June 2010, former president of the Instituto Brasileiro de Museus and former São Paulo State Secretary of Culture.
José Olympio succeeds João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz (2017–18), Luis Terepins (2013–16) and Heitor Martins (2009–12) and takes over the presidency of a sustainable, transparent and financially independent institution, the result of a process of institutional strengthening that began ten years ago.
With the foundation ready to begin a new phase, the president plans to enlarge the Bienal’s relationship with the cultural life in Brazil and abroad. The projects planned for the two-year period 2019–2020 include the traveling shows of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo in cities in Brazil and abroad; Brazil’s official representation at the 58th Venice Biennale and at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale; the continuity of the actions of cataloging and conservation of the Wanda Svevo Historical Archive; besides, of course, the 34th Bienal de São Paulo.
According to José Olympio, “the Fundação Bienal plays an important role in the dissemination of art in Brazil and worldwide. Unlike the Venice Biennale and other art biennials, which are targeted to specialists, the Bienal de São Paulo welcomes both art professionals and those unfamiliar with art, or who have, here, their first contact with an art institution - the latter audience representing the large majority of our more than 700 thousand visitors.”
Similarly, Julio Landmann believes that “the Bienal is an opportunity for artists to show their works and to be seen by a vast and diverse public, composed not only of curators and critics – today the Bienal is a mandatory reference for art professionals worldwide, but above all for hundreds of thousands of Brazilians who, often, are visiting an art exhibition for the first time. It is an opportunity to show art to a wide audience, providing access to a deeper contact through its educational projects.”