Government Appoints New Director of the Bellas Artes Museum

SANTIAGO – The government has announced a new director for Bellas Artes Museum. Fernando Pérez Oyarzún, an architect, will fill the position for the next three years. His appointment caused controversy in the art world.

In July of 2018 the government asked former Museo Nacional Bellas Artes director Roberto Farriol to step down. According to news site Emol, the government did so due to a loss of confidence in his management, lack of teamwork, and inability to handle conflicts.

When the Culture Ministry announced the vacancy, 58 people applied, and, months later, after a multistep process, the government chose architect Fernando Pérez Oyarzún.

Pérez is lauded as “an intellectual, researcher, and academic.” He studied architecture at Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC), and obtained a doctorate in architecture from Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona. He is currently professor at PUC, and in the past has been a director there, as well as a researcher, professor, and dean at other universities.

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Controversy over “lack of experience”

His appointment as director of the Bellas Artes museum is not without controversy. Some artists are unhappy, claiming that Pérez is not an artist. According to La Tercera newspaper, the Sculptor and Painters Association of Chile warned in a letter written to news site El Mostrador, that Pérez does not have the experience in the world of visual arts.

Consuelo Valdés, current minister of Cultures, Arts, and Heritage, responded saying, “His extensive career as an academic, researcher and manager in the field of cultural heritage shows us his leadership and management capacity to take on this great task entrusted to him.”

Since obtaining his post, Pérez has shown great respect toward it. He said, “I assume the position with much modesty and a lot of responsibility. I am happy because it is one of the most important institutions in the country and I believe that my effort is up to that task. This is just beginning, I have to learn many things, get to know the team, the established political lines. That’s why I ask for patience to be able to assume this position.”

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