Words by Matthew Mendiola
Photos by Jeff Pascual
There’s something about modern art that encapsulates that #millennial vibe. From the poignant to the downright weird, modern art pushes the limits of artistic expression, while remaining grounded on an awareness of prevailing norms. And almost always, behind modern art’s “Instagrammable” facades are thought-provoking oeuvres that deconstruct and critique social realities.
The Ateneo Art Gallery is a place where you can come to appreciate such contemporary masterpieces. Located at the Areté building in the Ateneo de Manila University, this gallery might just be your new favorite spot in QC. Home to over 500 artworks, including paintings, prints, life-size sculptures, and larger-than-life installations, the Ateneo Art Gallery is a feast for art lovers. The best part is, you can go to the museum for FREE.
We recently visited the gallery to look at some of the latest exhibits on display, and here’s our advice. If you go there, get your phone cameras ready. There’s a lot to take in.
Said to be the first museum of modern art in the country, the Ateneo Art Gallery is a pioneer in the local art scene. The gallery traces its roots back to the late great Fernando Zobel, who donated artworks for university students to study. Since then, the gallery’s collection has expanded through the years. And as it is open to the public, the Ateneo Art Gallery is a haven for artists and art enthusiasts alike.
The upper ground floor of the gallery features a permanent exhibit entitled “Love It and Leave It: A Legacy of Gifts to the Ateneo Art Gallery”. The gallery contains a plethora of works from donors since the 1960s. That’s over five decades worth of art on display—in other words, A LOT of art. Chances are, the first thing you’re bound to notice is a massive wall filled with 100 paintings by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan.
The second floor of the gallery currently houses a print folio exhibit, which includes several contemporary Asian prints, Florante at Laura illustrations, and works by Varujan Boghosian, Arturo Luz, and Lee Aguinaldo, among others. The prints are incredibly intricate, and like any great work of art, you have to see them for yourselves.
The third floor is the most fun. This is where you get to see all the shortlisted artworks for the recently concluded 2018 Ateneo Art Awards held last August 26.
The installations on the third floor are some of the most eye-catching in the gallery. There’s a fun exhibit by Ian Carlo Jaucian called “Viral Automata” where you get to interact with robots programmed as artificial viruses. We were afraid that the robots would follow us home.
The Ateneo Art Gallery is a celebration of the best that Filipino contemporary artists have to offer. By making itself accessible to everyone, the Ateneo Art Gallery removes all exclusivities when it comes to art. Art, after all, is meant to be experienced. It’s meant to be shared.
The Ateneo Art Gallery just launched their latest installation—Ryan Villamael’s Locus Amoenus, an impressive display of large-scale paper-cut sculptures created from archaic and contemporary Philippine maps. As with the gallery’s other exhibits, this is something you should totally check out.
The Ateneo Art Gallery is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9AM-7PM and on Sundays from 9AM-5PM.
Ateneo Art Gallery