The Oscar Niemeyer Museum looks out over the city of Curitiba, Brazil like a benevolent, cubist version of the Eye of Sauron. In fact, although this architecturally striking museum of contemporary art was apparently modelled on the silhouette of an Araucaria tree, for obvious reasons most people refer to it as the Museu de Olho (Museum of the Eye).
But it didn’t always look like this – the building was originally designed as an educational institute by architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1967, and only acquired its ocular appearance decades later when it was remodelled by Mr. Niemeyer and re-inaugurated as an art museum in 2003. Like many of Niemeyer’s other projects, the Museu de Olho straddles the boundary between modern and postmodern architecture, featuring contrasting curved and rectangular volumes, bold, sculptural lines, sweeping ramps, colourful murals and lush grounds.
When the giant mirrored surface of the “Eye” reflects and blends in with the surrounding sky, it looks both space-age and surreal, almost like something out of a Magritte painting.
Today, the museum boasts 1900 square metres of exhibition space dedicated to visual arts, design and architecture. But don’t touch the artwork – you’re being watched.
Sophia Softky is an armchair philosopher and wayward American trying to make her way in Melbourne. Sometimes she writes things, and sometimes they get published. She is a millenial and therefore lives inside of the Internet.