Located in Chiado, the historic center of Lisbon, MNAC was founded in 1911 and has since evolved into a prominent institution showcasing the best of Portuguese contemporary art from 1850 to the present day. The museum's mission, defined upon its creation and reaffirmed during its reopening in 1994, is to investigate and promote Portuguese artistic history and creation.

At the heart of MNAC is its extensive collection of Portuguese art, encompassing various disciplines such as painting, sculpture, drawing, video, and more. This collection is considered one of the most significant and extensive bodies of contemporary Portuguese artwork, making MNAC a vital resource for studying and understanding the evolution of Portuguese art over the years.

MNAC's exhibition program revolves around three main themes: showcasing specific artworks, highlighting individual artists, and exploring artistic movements throughout the collection's chronological and disciplinary scope. By revisiting and reinterpreting these works, the museum offers fresh perspectives and new avenues for artistic investigation. In addition, MNAC frequently hosts international exhibitions that intersect with its own collection, introducing visitors to the works of contemporary international artists.

The museum's commitment to accessibility and inclusivity is evident in its programming, which aims to engage diverse audiences of all ages and levels of artistic literacy. Alongside its exhibitions, MNAC offers a wide range of encounters, including talks with collectors, artists, art historians, scientists, and other researchers from various fields of knowledge. These events not only expand the museum's offerings but also cater to a broader public, fostering a greater appreciation for contemporary art.

MNAC's educational services play a crucial role in enriching visitors' experiences. From guided tours to courses, workshops, lectures, and roundtable discussions, the museum's educational initiatives provide opportunities for learning, interaction, and personal growth. Furthermore, MNAC actively collaborates with national and international academic institutions, organizing congresses and establishing partnerships that strengthen its ties to the academic community.

The museum's policy of acquisitions reflects its commitment to continually enriching its collection. With a focus on bridging gaps in the collection, MNAC has made significant strides in representing art from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1990s. It has also started integrating other artistic genres, such as photography and video, which are prevalent in contemporary artistic practices.

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While MNAC's collection continues to grow, the museum faces challenges posed by limited space. This constraint restricts the diversity of activities the institution can undertake, including the continuous display of its collection, the development of large-scale temporary exhibitions, and educational initiatives. To address these limitations, MNAC has adopted a rotating exhibition strategy, showcasing different segments of its collection over time. This approach allows the museum to demonstrate the growth of its collection and highlight ongoing research efforts.

MNAC's efforts to engage with society extend beyond the confines of its physical space. Through collaborations with artists, collectors, donors, and sponsors, the museum fosters a sense of community and widens its reach. The support of organizations like the Millennium bcp Foundation has been instrumental in expanding MNAC's capabilities, enabling the creation of new exhibition narratives and furthering its educational initiatives.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon stands as a beacon of artistic expression, exploring the depths of Portuguese contemporary art and connecting it with global trends. With its diverse collection, thought-provoking exhibitions, and commitment to education, MNAC continues to inspire artists, researchers, and art enthusiasts alike. By embracing the ever-evolving nature of contemporary art, MNAC remains a vital institution that pushes boundaries, challenges conventions, and celebrates the power of creativity.

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