Located at the point where cosmopolitan Chiado merges with bohemian Bairro Alto on one of Lisbon’s main arteries, Muñoz Carmona Art & Gallery is housed in one of the most prestigious and contemporary boutique hotels in Europa – Bairro Alto Hotel – close to the finest restaurants, bars and shops.
At only slightly over 50m2, this gallery has an ambitious and imaginatively creative mission that sets it apart from the usual approach adopted by its counterparts. Rather than represent artists, Muñoz Carmona Art & Gallery’s premise is to make its mark on the Portuguese – and potentially international – art scene by presenting an accessible cultural space in the centre of Lisbon, thus breaking the barrier between the general public and contemporary art galleries.
The duo André Ribeiro and Juan Carmona – thestudio
– will show their work regularly and intermittently with the projects developed by Harris. The exhibition timeline will always be organic, but the aim of its founder is to open a new exhibition every two months.
Rather than focus on Portuguese or international artists, Muñoz Carmona aspires to present leading artwork with its own identity and vocabulary – concepts that are extremely well developed and executed and whose excitement instils pride from the sensation of having accomplished a mission. It is the curator who will undertake this work of research, contact and development, which must never neglect or distort the language and concept conveyed.
JUAN MUÑOZ CARMONA
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1978, Juan Muñoz Carmona grew up in Rio de Janeiro but moved to Lisbon as a young man. Nonconformist by nature, he moved to Madrid to study graphic design and photography at the European Design Institute. While in the Spanish capital, he completed an AA in contemporary art at Museo Reina Sofia, followed by a postgraduate course in graphic design at CCCB Barcelona.
His first art installation was commissioned by Grupo Amorim for the company’s HQ in Porto. He took part in a collective show at Caixa Madrid and the same year held his first solo exhibition at Galeria Iris in Barcelona, while also joining the Brazilis collective at the Carroussel du Louvre, in Paris.
In 2005, after returning to Lisbon, he decided to enter the area of creative direction and founded thestudio
in Chiado, where it remains to this day. Since then, as creative director, he has developed and executed concepts for Portuguese and international clients, with a portfolio including brands such as NOS, Super Bock, Alive, Vodafone, Johnnie Walker, Grey Goose and Moët & Chandon, among many others.
In recent years, together with André Ribeiro, his partner at thestudio
and an old friend, they have developed a 360º project for Bairro Alto Hotel Restaurant (BAHR) and have been responsible for the creative direction and design of the hotel itself.
In 2019, they decided to take a fresh look at several old projects and return to producing art itself, developing the concept behind the exhibition Natureza Morta / Steal Life, the duo’s first show, which also marks the opening of Muñoz Carmona Art & Gallery.
After a brief spell working with galleries in Los Angeles and New York, Deborah Harris began her career working at art magazines, where she occupied various positions including director of advertising at Artnews, associated editor at Art in America, editor of Modern Painters and art editor at W Magazine.
In 2008, she joined the team behind the art fair The Armory Show in New York as deputy director, a position she held until 2017. In 2009, she created The Armory Show – Modern at Pier 92. In parallel with her work for the art fair, she helped to launch Art Platform Los Angeles in 2011, which lasted for two years.
She moved to Portugal in March 2018 where she has lived and worked ever since. With over 30 years of experience in the art world, Harris now works as a business consultant for galleries, artists and institutions. She is involved in various new projects in Lisbon, namely that of Muñoz Carmona, where she is responsible for curating and programming the invited artists.
The collaboration between Harris and Muñoz Carmona Art & Gallery has enabled one of the major aims and propositions behind this project: to bring artists and contemporary art projects to Lisbon that have never been shown in Portugal. Subsequently, Deborah began negotiations and curatorial work with artists such as Curtis Santiago, Rachel Lee Hovnanian and Bo Joseph for the 2020/2021 programming season for Lisbon’s newest gallery.