“MACAM – The Armando Martins Museum of Contemporary Art is a new cultural project, totally private, dedicated to modern and contemporary art, which will be installed in Lisbon in the first semester of 2024. This is an unprecedented initiative which, for the first time in Portugal and Europe, combines the space of a museum with a 5-star hotel,” the museum’s official site reads.
The news of the new opening date was shared by the online publisher Observador, to whom the museum’s communication department justified the delay in opening with restraints imposed upon them by the covid-19 pandemic and the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the complexity of the rehabilitation and adaptation project the building had to undergo to receive MACAM.
In October 2020, it was discovered that the collector Armando Martins would open a contemporary art museum the next year to exhibit a collection of 400 works from Portuguese and foreign artists.
The project by the collector and businessman from Fibeira Group, who partake in real estate promotion, hotels and services, will occupy the Ribeira Grande Palace of The Counts, on Rua da Junqueira, where the Queen Amelia College once operated.
In May 2021, the opening was delayed to the first four months of the following year. At the time, curator Adelaide Ginga, director of MACAM, justified the delay with “time blocks” caused by the pandemic.
The collection of Armando Martins gathers works by Portuguese and foreign artists, some of the former being Paula Rego, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, José Malhoa, Amadeo Souza-Cardoso, Almada Negreiros, Eduardo Viana, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Julião Sarmento, Rui Chafes, José Pedro Croft, and Lourdes Castro, among others, the new museum’s curator and soon-to-be director indicated.
As for foreign artists, they’re represented through the collections of Gilberto Zorio, John Baldessari, Albert Oehlen, Olafur Eliasson, Marina Abramovic, Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Ballester Moreno, Juan Muñoz, Santiago Sierra, Carlos Aires, Pedro Reyes, Carlos Garaicoa, Ernesto Neto, Marepe, Rosângela Rennó, Vik Muniz and Isa Genzken, among others.
Some of the works have already been given to put on exhibition in places like the Soares dos Reis National Museum and the Serralves Museum, in Porto, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the Art, Architecture and Technology Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the Berardo Collection Museum, in Lisbon, as well as the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid, among other institutions.
Armando Martins began his collection when he was just 18 years old when he split a collection of 35 serigraphs with a friend. The first purchase of an original painting happened in 1974 from Portuguese artist Rogério Ribeiro, and it got more intense in the 80s, particularly with 20th-century contemporary Portuguese art, then extending to buying from foreigners, artists from every continent minus Oceania.
Although he had followed his personal taste, Armando Martins over the decades followed the advice of curators and gallerists like Pedro Cera and Filomena Soares, among others.
The Armando Martins collection was distinguished in 2018 with an award in collecting by the ARCO Foundation in Madrid.