The museum in Lancaster BuildingDuring the early days of the Lopez Museum and Library, the visual arts component of the collection—through the works of Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo—has been a permanent fixture perpetually gracing the galleries of Lancaster Building in Pasay. However, times were changing and the presentation of tangible histories was being challenged to expand what was being presented to the public.
At the tail end of the martial law era, the institution moved to Benpres Building in Ortigas. For 32 years, the museum and library called the former Manila Chronicle Building its home. With new acquisitions in its visual arts collection, the modern works expanded in number through the guidance of Rod Paras-Perez, and the museum reinvented its programming.
In 2001, the museum began presenting changing exhibitions—a flagship endeavor of curator Joselina Cruz. Amidst wall-bound paintings, the visitor would find unlit candles, toy soldiers piled inside glass cases and a flatbed with projections on folded fabric. Living artists could interact with those long gone, creating dialogue with the materials in the visual arts and library collections, the narratives they contain, and diverse interpretations mined by those who engage with their works.
Walls were torn down to make way for the contemporary bent of the institution as new curators Chitz Ramirez and Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez wanted a larger space that could house the changing exhibitions. Thus, existing structures were taken apart to make way for a more dynamic space where different worlds can converge and converse.
In a little over three decades at Benpres Building, conversations between contemporary artists and different segments of Philippine history ensued, the past echoing through experiments in various media.
The galleries bore witness to numerous exhibitions, taking down of works and dialogues between diverse demographics.
The Lopez Museum and Library has become a testament to how art breathes life into the everyday, reviving old stories and forgotten events, and fleshing out narratives that may have been silenced.
With its renewed commitment to continue the vision of its founders in whatever space it finds itself, the institution aims to continue being an effective storyteller of histories big and small, to ignite ideas and encourage dialogue with the present and the past. (Story/Photo by: Thea Garing and Yna Musico)
The Lopez Library is open and welcomes researchers until further notice.
However, the Lopez Museum will be closed in preparation for the institution’s relocation.
Previous exhibitions ‘R(x) Critical Remedies’ (2001)
Previous exhibitions ‘Grounded’ (2013)