Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry (MACA), Uruguay’s new contemporary art venue, has just opened its doors to the public. The major cultural destination, spearheaded by the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation, the Uruguayan sculptor’s Miami-based non-profit institution, has been designed by celebrated Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott. The new scheme, located in Punta del Este, is the ‘first and only museum in Uruguay promoting global contemporary art’, say its representatives. 

The building unfolds as a dynamic wave or the bow of a ship, a curvaceous structure that appears almost to be moving on its landscaped terrain. It is wrapped in glass- and aluminium-clad enclosures that shimmer in the sun, and an aluminium roof that is held up by an impressive timber frame construction, made of Red Grandis eucalyptus. The sweeping curves of the timber elements cleverly allow for column-free interiors and large halls that can be flexible and accommodate exhibitions of different scales. 

exterior detail of curves at MACA - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry in Uruguay

Set in expansive grounds, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry opened with fresh artwork by Atchugarry himself, but also a temporary show of work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude – whom the sculptor admires greatly. There are also shows with works from the permanent collection, by artists including Richard Anuszkiewicz, Carmelo Arden Quin, Pablo Atchugarry, José Pedro Costigliolo, Carlos Cruz Diez, Sandú Darié, Jorge Eielson and Wifredo Lam, among many others. Displays are arranged across five flexible exhibition halls and a sculpture park – catering for outdoor art of all scopes and sizes.

‘There is a common concern among artists and collectors, which consists in thinking about where their works will go, the fruit of a lifetime, the passion that has always accompanied them,’ says Atchugarry, who led the project. ‘So, a few years ago, the idea of building a museum was born, right within the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation, which is in some way the cultural heritage that I leave for Uruguay. I think that MACA will belong to humanity and that, like a ship loaded with art, life and dreams, it will lead us to a world of greater understanding and love.’ The museum will be headed by director Leonardo Noguéz. §

detail of project seen from the ground at MACA - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry in Uruguay
interior exhibition view at the museum of contemporary art in uruguay, MACA
sweeping interior roof structure at MACA, the museum of contemporary art in uruguay
pabloe atchugarry sculptures seen inside MACA, the new museum of contemporary art in uruguay