The museum’s original four-story edifice designed by National Artist Juan Nakpil stood right in front of the founder’s residence in Lancaster Street, Pasay. The Lopezes kept the museum open all throughout the martial law years. In 1986, the museum moved to its second and current home at the Benpres Bldg. in Ortigas to protect its collection from the salty air from Manila Bay and the frequent monsoon floods in Pasay. Despite the transfer, the museum remained as a popular hub for Filipiniana materials and rare artifacts. Another thing that sets the Lopez Museum & Library apart is the brand of customer service that it offers to visitors.
Now on its 55th founding anniversary Lopez Museum and Library featured Propaganda will run from February 6 to May 30, 2015
The museum is home to paintings by 19th century Filipino masters, Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. 1884 Esposicion National de Bellas Artes in Madrid won the Filipino some international recognition in the field of fine arts. Luna’s Spoliarium received one of the three gold medals awarded while Hidalgo’s entry, Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho, was awarded the first silver out of a total of fifteen that were given out.
A walk through the galleries will prove that Luna’s works are in distinct contrast to those of Hidalgo’s. If Luna’s canvases depict drama and a certain bravura, Hidalgo’s portray a delicate sensibility, which a critic has described as “more pure, more serene in feeling”.
The library has a collection of over 21,000 Filipiniana titles, constantly enriched by new acquisitions. Its rare Philippine imprints date from the early 17th century – the oldest being a unique
copy of the Belarmin-Lopez Doctrina Cristiana in Ilocano (Manila, 1620.) Among the other rare books and manuscripts are works by such eminent printers as Tomas Pinpin, Raymundo Magysa, Nicolas Cruz Bagay, Laureano Atlas, and Juan Correa. The earliest book in the library is the third edition (Rome, 1524) of De Moluccis Insulis, by Maximilianus Transylvanus, which has the first printed account of Magellan’s voyage to the Philippines. Another important book in the collection is the famous Relacion de las Islas Filipinas by the Jesuit Pedro Chirino (Rome, 1604). The library also has extensive holding of books from the Spanish and early American period. To these are added old periodicals (such as The Tribune), photo albums of Philippine flora, fauna, Philippine urban and rural environs, and microfilms of manuscripts and the like.
The Lopez Museum and Library, in a technology partnership with Samsung Electronics Philippines Corp , opens its first exhibition for 2015, entitled Propaganda, on February 6, 2015. The exhibition fleshes out the idea of myth-making and its capacity to inspire change or derail genuine national progress. Featuring Samsung Smart TVs and Samsung tablets installed with a museum app called “Facets”, the exhibition combines traditional media with digital content resulting in a unique and immersive museum experience. It is an exhibition that challenges not just our notions of art and history, but also how we view museums and libraries.
The Lopez Museum and Library was founded on 13 February 1960 by Don Eugenio Lopez, Sr. in honor of his parents, Benito Lopez and Presentacion Hofilaña. Don Eugenio built the museum in order to provide scholars and students access to his personal collection of rare Filipiniana books, manuscripts, maps, archeological artifacts, and fine art
Ricky Francisco, co-curator of Propaganda, said the exhibition was conceived to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with Don M. Salubayba, 2009 CCP Thirteen Artists Awardee and one of the most promising artists of his generation. Salubayba unexpectedly passed away during the planning process and the exhibition evolved to also be a tribute to him. The exhibition includes a few of his important works such as Pagsasabuhay, Abysmal Abound: Trinity of Passiveness, and his “anino-mation” (shadow puppetry animation) A Not so Giant Story (Legend of the Philippines) that have been sourced and borrowed with the help of Tin-aw Art Management.
Also featured are World War II posters, election-related archival materials, LVN movies still photographs, a collection of rare maps, Philippine imprints; a recreation of Santiago Bose’s 1983 installation Pasyon at Rebolusyon that has been reinstalled by Kawayan de Guia; commissioned works from social realist and Negros Occidental-based artist Nunelucio Alvarado; 2012 Thirteen Artists awardee Joey Cobcobo; and writer and Gawad Urian awardee film-maker Alvin Yapan. Enriching the exhibit and re-framing the exhibition issues are works by 18th century masters Juan Luna and Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, along with those of national artists Fernando Amorsolo, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Vicente Manansala, and J. Elizalde Navarro from the permanent collection.
Co-curator Ethel Villafranca says that this exhibition invites visitors to “reflect on where we, as a country, have been and where we are going”. Ultimately, Propaganda aims to engage the public, challenge them to see the connections in history and culture within the objects in the exhibition, and be more discerning when presented with information, whether political or otherwise.
Through Samsung Smart TVs and mobile devices, visitors will see ultra-violet scans of Juan Luna’s Espana y Filipinas, revealing details behind the painting; flip through digital copies of the library’s oldest books in its collections that date back to the 15th century; watch a video of the conservation process of these old books; and view several of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s studies of Per Pacem Et Libertatem on a tablet device.
The museum also has selected works by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, who gained prominence during the early 30’s and 40’s as the artist who popularized the era’s rustic Philippine landscape and the lovely dalagang Filipina. Throughout the years, the museum has acquired paintings by many of the country’s National Artists including Victorio Edades, Botong Francisco, Jose Joya, Ang Kiukok, Vicente Manansala, HR Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Arturo Luz, and J. Elizalde Navarro. Important artist such as Fernando Zobel, Nena Saguil, Macario Vitalis, and Romeo Tabuena are also represented in the museum’s ever-expanding collection. The museum is equally proud of its under-rated pieces from Alfonso Ossorio, Juan Arellano, and Dominador Castañeda.
Propaganda will run from February 6 to May 30, 2015 and is presented with support from Samsung Philippines, Gourment Frams, Inc., Tin-aw Artists Management, the heirs of Doña Narcissa de Leon (LVN collection), and ABS – CBN Film and Media Archives. For more information, call Tina at 6312417 or email email@example.com.
Lopez Museum and Library is at the G/F Benpres Bldg., Meralco cor. Exchange Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Museum and library hours are 8-5pm Mondays through Saturdays except
Sundays and holidays.