Created by the initiative of businessman Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho in 1962, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is one of the most important international institutions of contemporary art promotion, and its impact on the development of Brazilian visual arts is notably recognized. The arts’ Bienal, its most important event, does not only present to different audiences the production of Brazilian and foreign artists, but it also attracts the world’s attention for contemporary art in our country. More than this, the event acts as a periscope in that it breaks the isolation of a country whose socio-cultural conditions and dimensions make contact with this broad production difficult, and promotes irreplaceable proximity with the works - the digital images of which (on a computer screen) could never provoke the fascination and revelation of the intimate moment of facing artworks.
After completing the 6th Bienal, the Fundação was created to take the exhibition forward, which until then had been organized (with great success) by the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo - MAM-SP. And the pavilion the institution occupies - its home to this day - only began holding the Bienal exhibitions starting with its 4th edition in 1957. Since 1951, dozens Bienals have been produced with the participation of 159 countries, more than 13 thousand artists, close to 60 thousand works, and almost 7 million visitors, making direct contact possible between the Brazilian public and the visual, theatrical and graphic arts, music, film, architecture, and other forms of artistic expression from around the world.