The São Paulo Biennial was initiated in 1951 and is the second oldest art biennial in the world after the Venice Biennial, which was set up 1895 and served as its role model.
The São Paulo Biennial was founded by the Italian-Brazilian industrialist Ciccillo Matarazzo (1898-1977). Since 1957, the Biennial has been held in the Ciccillo Matarazzo pavilion in the Parque do Ibirapuera. The pavilion was designed by a team led by architects Oscar Niemeyer and Hélio Uchôa, and provides an exhibition space of 30,000 m2. The São Paulo Biennial features both Brazilian and international artists, and is considered to be one of the most important art exhibits in the country.
In 1962 the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo was created, taking over the exhibition organization that, up until then, had been under the sucessful management of the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, MAM-SP. The venue it occupies today came to house the biennials from its 4th edition onwards.
The São Paulo Biennial’s initial aims are to make contemporary art known in Brazil, push the country’s access to the art scene in other metropolises and further establish São Paulo as an international art centre. The biennial serves to bring Brazilian art closer to an international audience, and vice-versa. The international exhibitions are held under the direction of rotating chief curators.
The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is a vibrant institution that conceives and implements artistic, educational and social initiatives. In addition to producing the São Paulo Biennial, it holds activities all year round in a pavilion that is emblematic of Brazilian modernist architecture as well as inside and outside of Brazil. A cultural institution with no political or religious affiliations, the Fundação Bienal seeks to introduce new ideas, provoke debates and educate the eye of the public with an ever-renewing sense of restlessness, purpose and questioning.Source: www.bienal.org.br