30 de abril de 2020

Chamada aberta internacional | Open Call | Convocatoria Abierta
Artistic Director
Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro

May 2020


Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio) is opening an international South American call for applications for the position of artistic director of the museum. Applications can be submitted as of May 3, 2020, the date that marks the museum’s 72nd anniversary.

The post of artistic director of MAM Rio is open to Brazilians, citizens of Mercosur countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay), and people of other nationalities with a visa to live and work in Brazil. The selected candidate will have proven experience and an innovative track record in curating, artistic direction, and project management. We would like someone who is capable of working sensitively and creatively to galvanize the artistic community, broaden the museum’s visiting public, foster an environment that is increasingly open to the community, and raise the profile of MAM Rio on the international stage. 

The new artistic director will be in charge of curatorship activities, with responsibility for managing the museum’s visual arts and film collections and archives, and for the projects and events run by the film, documentation, and education departments, as well as the partnership with Capacete for the international artistic residency program (capacete.org). They will liaise directly with the executive director, curators, managers, and coordinators. 

We are looking for someone who has the willpower and capacity to strengthen the museum at this important time of transformation. They must be familiar with the history of MAM Rio and sensitive to this history and the museum’s broader cultural context in Rio and Brazil. We would like to attract applicants with interest and specialization in Latin American visual arts and culture, both contemporary and modern, and with the capacity to devise an international agenda that is in tune with other parts of the world. The selected candidate will have good interpersonal and communication skills and will be keen to devise a well-founded, original program that will serve to expand the museum’s sphere of influence by sparking the interest of diverse and previously untapped publics. 

In line with the current management’s commitment to transparency, there will be a two-stage selection process run by evaluation committees. Details will be posted on the museum website. The identity of all the applicants will be maintained in the strictest confidence and the intellectual property of the projects and project proposals submitted as part of the selection process will be respected.


Since January 2020, MAM Rio has been under new management, led by its new executive director, Fabio Szwarcwald, with the support of the MAM board and the other areas of the museum. A process of profound institutional transformation is underway, bringing in new ideas, new workflows, and new attitudes The aim is to expand on the museum’s existing activities, in line with its historical work, and to embrace all those who make use of MAM Rio’s multiple spaces, including publics who have never visited the museum. 

MAM Rio is working proactively to expand its relationship with its host city, based on its tradition of experimentation and cutting-edge initiatives. This whole transformation process is designed to reorient the museum along the lines of its original purpose, sustained by the three pillars of art, education, and culture. Plans have been drawn up to reopen the School Block (Bloco Escola), a space devoted to learning, discussion, and artistic creation, and to offer international art residencies with Capacete, the longest established in the country, whose activities, agenda, and research processes will be integrated with those of the museum. All this means a real commitment to active learning in a national and international setting and a far broader range of dialogue and experimentation. 

One key aspect of the transformation at MAM Rio is the decision to attract professionals and partners who can contribute with their particular experience and knowledge so that together we can build new ways of working that are consistent with the contemporary role of the museum, in all its multiple dimensions, including an overhaul of its artistic, digital, education, and community content, forging new ties with the local community, boosting its social impact, and reviewing its economic sustainability. 

Transforming means making the museum more open, more socially aware, more welcoming, sustainable, digital, experiential, and human. The aim is to enable more fluid interactions between different forms of artistic expression, breaking down boundaries and fostering integration between poetic programs and genres.


Founded in 1948, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio) is devoted to vanguardism and experimentalism in art, film, and culture. With around 15,000 artworks, it has one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art in Latin America. It has held countless exhibitions that to this day mark the forms of expression and language of the visual arts in Brazil, and has harbored many important Brazilian art movements.

MAM Rio is classified as a non-profit civil society organization of public interest. It is funded by individuals and corporate entities, and currently counts on permanent funding from Petrobras, Itaú, and Ternium, via the federal law for the promotion of culture, as well as sponsorship from the PetraGold Group. 

The MAM Rio building, which has housed the museum since 1958, is known internationally as an exemplar of global modern architecture. It was designed by the French-Brazilian architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy, who also devised the walkway that connects the museum to downtown Rio de Janeiro and the urban park, Parque do Flamengo, in which the museum stands. The MAM Rio gardens and the park were landscaped by Roberto Burle Marx, hailed as the greatest landscape artist of the twentieth century. Occupying a privileged location overlooking Guanabara Bay, MAM Rio is also close to Santos Dumont airport and the national monument to the soldiers who died in the Second World War. Nearby, in downtown Rio, are Cinelândia, the Municipal Theater, the National Library, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. The view from MAM takes in Sugar Loaf, Corcovado, with the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Gloria marina, and Outeiro da Glória church.

MAM Rio was one of the few cultural institutions in Brazil to nurture the avant-garde movements that sprung up after the Second World War. The many such movements the museum harbored include Grupo Frente (1954), Neoconcretism (1959), New Brazilian Objectivity (1967), Cinema Novo (1960s), Cinema Marginal (1970s), and independent shorts and documentaries (1970s-1980s), as well as contemporary experimental film (2000s). It was also at MAM Rio that dozens of seminal exhibitions and events in Brazilian modern and contemporary art took place. These include: the 1st Neoconcrete Exhibition (1959), Opinião 65 and Opinião 66 (Opinion 65 and Opinion 66), Nova Objetividade Brasileira (New Brazilian Objectivity, 1967), Salão da Bússola (Compass Salon, 1969), Salões de Verão (Summer Salons, 1969 and 1974), and Arte Agora III – América Latina: geometria sensível (Art Now III – Latin America: sensitive geometry, 1978). Great artists have exhibited their work, taught, or had some important formative experiences for their subsequent development at MAM Rio.

Courses and events have been a core feature of the museum’s work since its inception, as expressed in the 1948 founding document. The School Block (Bloco Escola), opened in 1958, was the first part of the museum’s definitive premises to be completed. According to Reidy’s working project, it was designed to house the Technical Creation School, classrooms, and drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, binding, and photography studios, as well as a photography lab, printworks, embosser, student cafeteria, and offices. Not only did the School Block host the first exhibitions put on in the museum’s purpose-built premises, it was also the home to certain key initiatives, like the Experimental Unit, a language lab where multidisciplinary debates were held involving artists, scientists, and theorists, under the coordination of Frederico Morais, in partnership with Cildo Meireles, Guilherme Vaz, and Luiz Alphonsus.

The School Block activities also spilled out beyond its walls, leading to initiatives like Creative Sundays (Domingos da Criação) – cultural and educational manifestations held in 1971 in the museum gardens on the last Sunday of the month, attracting up to ten thousand people per edition – and the Arts Depot (Galpão das Artes), which in the 1990s was run from the area that Reidy had earmarked for the MAM Rio theater, where courses, presentations, and events were held that fostered interchange and experimentation.


MAM Rio has one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art in Latin America, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, videos, installations, objects, performances, artist books, and interventions. It also has a major modern and contemporary art archive and a film library, or cinemateque, which manages the country’s biggest film archive and one of the largest in Latin America.

The visual arts collections come from several sources: its own collection, built up through donations and acquisitions, and rebuilt after the fire in the Exhibition Block in 1978, which destroyed around half of its works, as well as the Gilberto Chateaubriand and Joaquim Paiva collections, on permanent loan.

The collections contain works by the foreign artists Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, Auguste Rodin, Marino Marini, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, A. R. Penck, Gerhard Richter, Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely, César, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and many others. 

The Brazilian artists represented in the collections include Anita Malfatti, Cícero Dias, Maria Martins, Candido Portinari, Ivan Serpa, Bruno Giorgi, Amilcar de Castro, Franz Weissmann, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Antonio Dias, Hércules Barsotti, Willys de Castro, Anna Bella Geiger, Rubens Gerchman, Artur Barrio, Cildo Meireles, Waltercio Caldas, Antonio Manuel, Nelson Leirner, Regina Silveira, Tunga, Carlos Vergara, Márcia X, Beatriz Milhazes, and Adriana Varejão.

MAM Rio Collection

(c. 6600 works)

This collection is mostly of international artworks plus some important works by Brazilian artists. Made up primarily of acquisitions by the museum itself and works that survived the fire in 1978, it also receives donations from artists or their relatives, donations from private citizens (like the Esther Emilio Carlos collection), and acquisitions made thanks to funding received through calls for proposals (e.g., White Martins) and tax incentive laws (e.g., Petrobras).

Gilberto Chateaubriand Collection

(c. 6630 works)

On loan since 1993, this collection gives an almost complete overview of Brazilian art, from modernism through the major transformations seen in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, to the most recent expressions of contemporary art.

Joaquim Paiva Collection

(c. 1840 works)

Kept on loan since 2005, this collection is the only one devoted exclusively to photography. Comprising works by photographers and artists of different generations and nationalities, it gives a broad perspective on the history of photography from its more documentary and artistic branches to the present era of the digital image. 

MAM Rio Cinematheque

(c. 70,000 rolls of film, 80,000 in videotapes and optical media, 2.5 million documents)

Housing one of the biggest, oldest, and most important film archives in Latin America, the MAM Rio Cinematheque has a varied archive built up over its 65 years of work in the preservation and diffusion of film. It is the country’s largest film archive and research center, with some 2,500,000 individual items. It also has on loan some important, rare film collections, especially its collection of Brazilian films, which includes the oldest extant Brazilian film, Reminiscências, by Aristides Junqueira, shot in 1909. It also has over 70,000 rolls of 35 mm and 16 mm film and around 80,000 in analog and digital videotape and optical media formats. As a member of the International Federation of Film Archives, the MAM Rio Cinematheque collaborates with 200 institutions around the world for exchanges. It holds screenings in an exhibition room equipped for different technologies, both new and old, including silent films, which are shown together with accompanying music performed live. It holds exhibitions, it procures items for its special collections of equipment, and it takes part in major events in the cultural calendar in Rio and Brazil, such as festivals, conferences, and courses, always combining conservation with education in its broadest sense, along with the promotion of Brazilian and global cultural heritage. The Cinematheque activities are open to the public and free of charge.

MAM Rio Research and Documentation Archive

(c. 220,000 documents, 31,500 publications, 618 journal titles)

Research and Documentation has an archive specialized in modern and contemporary art formed of around 220,000 documents (photographs, leaflets, posters, invitations, letters, press releases, newspaper cuttings), 31,500 publications (books and catalogues), and 618 journal titles. It constitutes an important source of reference material for students of the visual arts, the museum’s own staff, and other researchers, such as curators, specialists, independent researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students.


This international South American selection process is open to professionals from Brazil, citizens of Mercosur countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay), and people of other nationalities with a visa to live and work in Brazil.

We are looking for a person with a degree in the visual arts, museology, the humanities, and/or history of art. Graduate diplomas, MBAs, master’s, doctorates and other academic qualifications will be taken into consideration in the résumé review, but are not a prerequisite.

At least seven years’ proven experience must be provided in the curating and management of institutions or cultural projects geared towards the visual arts and related areas.

Candidates must be capable of communicating in Portuguese and English, and ideally also in Spanish. Should a non-Brazilian candidate be selected, they will be given a deadline to improve their command of Portuguese, if necessary. 

MAM Rio is committed to making diversity a core parameter of its contracting policy. We will make every effort to avoid any form of gender, race, or class discrimination in the selection process. In this selection process, professionals who self-identify as black, indigenous, women, non-binary, disabled, or from another discriminated group will be favored in any tie-break situation. [1]


The vacancy is for a senior management role that requires competency in visual art curatorship and the general coordination of the museum’s cultural activities, in line with the transformation process described above. The responsibilities of the Artistic Director include:

  • designing a curatorial profile for the museum;
  • devising an annual activity plan, encompassing a broad, plural schedule of activities for the museum, including exhibitions, publications, performances, film showings, seminars, etc. Ideally, music and dance should also be included, and the museum should support, host, and/or take part in festivals and other cultural events taking place in the city; 
  • curating and supervising curatorship of original exhibitions or exhibitions based on the museum’s collections, and opening up space for dialogue with guest curators;
  • managing the museum’s collections through the development of policies, including loans;
  • taking part in and managing other museological processes in conjunction with the teams involved in the conservation, restoration, and digital preservation of the works;
  • developing partnerships with other museums, institutions, and organizations working in culture and the arts in Brazil and elsewhere;
  • fostering museum-community integration and coordinating the art and education activities to encompass a broader, more diverse, and larger range of publics; 
  • managing budgets in the art area and helping design fundraising activities and projects;
  • promoting integrated curatorship between the Cinemateque, the School Block, Capacete, Research and Documentation, Education and Communication.


The vacancy is for a full-time position based in Rio de Janeiro. The initial term will be of at least two years, renewable. Although the applicants’ salary expectations will not be a qualifying or tie-breaker criterion, they must still be included in their cover letter. [2] Before the employment contract can be signed, the selected candidate must present all their legal documents up-to-date, which is a special consideration for Mercosur citizens (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay) and other foreign residents of Brazil.


In its commitment to transparency and equity, MAM Rio will give equal consideration to applicants from Brazil, Mercosur, and residents of Brazil from other countries. 

There will be a two-stage selection process involving two different committees. The deliberative committee will be made up of members of the museum’s team with complementary competencies; this committee will be responsible for the final decision. The consultative committee, made up of actors from the field of culture, including artists, curators, and leaders of organizations in the museology sector, will offer advice and give their professional opinions on the shortlisted candidates. By combining the perspectives of these two groups, a broad spectrum of views and areas of expertise will be taken into account. Care will be taken in selecting professionals to sit on the consultative technical committee to ensure there is no conflict of interest or risk of decisions being made for personal gain. 

MAM Rio is committed to protecting the privacy of all those taking part in the selection process. As such, everyone involved in running the process and selecting the candidates will sign a non-disclosure agreement in which they will undertake to preserve the confidentiality of all the information.


  • [May 3] Publication of call for applications
  • [June 7] Deadline for submission of applications
  • [June 8 to 23] Analysis of applications
  • [June 24] Five shortlisted applicants invited for interview
  • [June 25 to 26] Online interview with the five applicants shortlisted in stage 1
  • [July 19] Deadline for submission of projects for stage 2
  • [July 20 to 24] Analysis of projects for stage 2
  • [July 27 to 31] Interviews with candidates selected in stage 2
  • [August 10] Publication of results

This schedule may be altered. MAM Rio will publish any changes to the schedule on the Selection Process area of the museum’s website. 


Applications must be submitted in a single pdf file (A4 format, up to 5 MB, not password-protected) in Portuguese or Spanish to the email [email protected] by 11.59 p.m. on June 7, 2020.

The pdf file must include:

  1. cover letter addressed to the executive-director and other directors, including salary expectations;
  2. project proposal describing in general terms the applicant’s vision for the artistic direction of MAM Rio. This should take the form of a statement of purpose of up to 1,000 words in length;
  3. curriculum vitae, complete version, highlighting the most important projects undertaken;
  4. professional letters of recommendation (optional) – maximum of three.

Applications will not be accepted if they are received after the deadline, in a format other than the one stipulated, or submitted by any means other than to the email address stated herein, except in case of any alteration of the terms of this call for applications, which will be published on the museum’s website. 


Once the application deadline has expired, the deliberative committee members will be sent the applications and will jointly select up to five applicants to go through to stage 2. This selection procedure will be based on the following criteria:

  • cultural qualifications
  • professional experience
  • creativity and capacity for innovation 
  • communication capacity
  • ideas for MAM Rio contained in the project proposal
  • relationship with the artistic community

The stated salary expectations will not serve as a tie-breaker criterion and will not be a weighting factor in the evaluation matrix.

The names of the members of the evaluation committees will be published together with the notification of the final result. The project proposals submitted by the unsuccessful applicants may be kept at the MAM Rio Research and Documentation Center upon prior authorization from the applicants.


The shortlisted candidates will receive an email by June 5 inviting them to take part in an individual conversation by video conference at a suggested time (via Google Hangouts, Skype, or similar platform). During the conversation, the candidates will discuss their previous experience and their project proposals. 

As of this date, these candidates will have three weeks to submit a project for the artistic direction of MAM Rio. This project should be a more comprehensive version of the project proposal and cover the following topics:

  • a curatorial line that is consistent with the contemporary role of MAM Rio in the visual arts and film, and its broader role in the social and educational development of society;
  • engagement with the artistic community and the cultural sector; 
  • fostering a space that is open to the multiple communities that interact with the museum;
  • raising MAM Rio’s profile on the international stage;
  • adaptability and flexibility in the face of challenging circumstances. 

The project may be of any length and may include images and other graphic and visual elements. MAM Rio will contact each applicant individually to decide on the format for the delivery of their project.

The shortlisted candidates will receive a symbolic payment of R$ 1,000 (one thousand reais) via PayPal within 30 days of the end of the selection process. [3]

The projects will be analyzed by both the deliberative committee and the technical consultative committee. The committees will select the candidates to be invited for interview, preferably in person, when they will have the chance to give a formal presentation of their project. The deliberative committee and executive director will decide how many candidates will be invited for interview. 

Each candidate selected for interview will be contacted by email and telephone to schedule this interview. If they are unable to attend in person, the interview will be conducted using an online platform. The format of the interview will not influence the final evaluation of the candidates.

The project presentations will be evaluated using the following criteria: 

  • demonstrable understanding of the history of MAM Rio in the broader context of culture in Rio and Brazil; 
  • capacity to creatively articulate the collection with the contemporary social and artistic scenario; 
  • interest and specialization in modern and contemporary Latin American art and culture;
  • interpersonal and communication skills and enthusiasm for developing an innovative program of activities to help enhance the impact and raise the profile of the museum by nurturing its ties with a broader, more diverse range of publics. 

MAM Rio is committed to making diversity one of the pillars of its people management policy. We will make every effort to avoid any form of gender, race, or class discrimination in the selection process. In this process, professionals who self-identify as black, indigenous, women, non-binary, disabled, or from another minority group will be favored in any tie-break situation. 

To preserve the participants’ identity and ensure an equitable selection process, all information concerning the candidates will be maintained in the strictest of confidence. The names of the members of the committees will only be made known when the final result of the process is published. 


The result of the open call for applications for a new artistic director of MAM Rio will be announced at an event, yet to be decided, and published on the MAM Rio website. 

On this occasion, MAM Rio will also publish the winning project proposal, justify the selection made, and confirm its commitment to actualizing the project.


[1] As set forth in the guide published by Instituto Ethos, Como as Empresas Podem (e Devem) Valorizar a Diversidade (“How Companies Can [and Should] Value Diversity”; https://www.ethos.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/30.pdf).

[2] This public call for applications is a transparency-driven selection process based on identifying alignment between the applicants’ values and those of MAM Rio, thereby assuring greater commitment to the new role and the other team members. As this is not a call for proposals or public competition, MAM Rio reserves the right to take whatever decisions it deems necessary, always in dialogue with the applicants.

[3] Gross value, subject to taxation and wire transfer costs.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
In case of queries, please contact: [email protected]