In 2006, Bernardo Paz opened Inhotim on a 5,000-acre farm in Minas Gerais. It has art in 23 huge galleries and installations by over a hundred of the greatest contemporary artists from 30 nations, and 140 hectares of woods and gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx, the greatest landscape architect of the twentieth century. I visited in 2011.
Inhotim consists of a series of experience rooms. In the Jane Cardoff pavilion, a Brazilian worker in a baseball cap sits alone in the middle of a circle of speakers, each recreating parts of a 16th-century choral piece, sung by rosy-cheeked English schoolboys in the Salisbury Cathedral. His head is in his hands, preoccupied with some private reflection. His son comes skipping up to him, and he gives him a hug with one arm. Then the son leaves, and the man is alone once again, in this space where grief can be dealt with. Outside, through the vertical windows, can be seen many varieties of tropical trees. Inhotim has 1,300 different kinds of palm trees alone—over a quarter of all the palm tree species on Earth. Here, art is nature, nature art.
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