Although the city of Porto is a busy industrial and commercial center, it has rich cultural heritage too. In fact, its historical center was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996. One of the places worth visit in Porto is the museum of Serralves. Serralves Art Foundation was found to raise the general public’s awareness concerning contemporary art and the environment. The building of Serralves is considered to be one of the finest works of the Portuguese architect José Marques da Silva. It is an elegant Art Déco building with magnificent gardens surrounding it, one of which was designed by French architect Jacques Gréber.
The Museu Serralves is the first large-scale contemporary art museum in Portugal. The public access to the museum’s ground is made at the highest level of the terrain through an opening in the existing wall that surrounds the property.
The building is 13,000 square meters in area and includes 4,500 square meters of exhibition space in 14 galleries. The interiors include hardwood floors and painted walls in gesso with marble skirting in the exhibition halls, and marble floors in the foyers and wet spaces. Exterior walls are covered with stone or stucco.
The collection of the museum comprises of direct acquisitions by the museum, works deposited by the State and private collectors and also donations. From the beginning, the collection and the various exhibitions have focused on the period following 1968. There are no permanent exhibitions, but the museum hosts five exhibits from invited artists every year. In recent years, the museum has organized exhibitions by Franz West, Roni Horn, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Richard Hamilton, Christopher Wool, and Luc Tuymans.
The citing of the Serralves museum would be incomplete without a mention of the landscaped gardens designed by João Gomes da Silva, on the approximately 18 hectars of land. The Serralves park also exhibits sculptures by Claes Oldenburg, Dan Graham, Fernanda Gomes, Richard Serra, and Veit Stratmann.