If I could live in a museum, I would. I will go there to drown out the noise from the world, and avoid people I do not want to hear and see.
My fascination with museums started here, in 1981, when on weekends, my father took me to this block-y, Brutalist building by the late Leandro Locsin:
Wasn’t it lovely? This was the old Ayala Museum, demolished sometime around 1999-2001. I loved this dark-and-moody, Brutalist Ayala Museum of my youth.
The ‘70s Ayala Museum, in perfect Lindy Locsin fashion, had a simple lobby with a breezeway in the middle. There was a turnstile in front and a turnstile at the back (times were safer back then), and it opened directly to the Aviary of the old Greenbelt Park. The effect was wonderful: you’re in a dark, concrete space and then you see a bit of green peeking out. Sometimes, birds from the Aviary flew into the museum lobby.
Another reason for choosing the Ayala Museum for my first post is the fact that it is a “beginner’s museum”—it was the first museum schools would take the students to see the Philippine Diorama experience. Upon visiting it thirty years later with my son, I was relieved to see some local historical inaccuracies corrected (two words: “Martial Law”).
A few people have criticized Ayala Museum, but I think it’s appropriate in its commercial/retail location—there’s a little bit of this and that, and every new exhibit (from Sanso and Legaspi, Aalto to Lacroix, Kusama and McCurry) is a surprise.
The last time I visited Ayala Museum was in May 2019, two weeks from its temporary closure. It is currently being renovated, and while I wait with bated breath for its latest reincarnation, the rest of the country awaits the reopening of all the other museums from the sleepy quarantine.
(Cover image “May 11th, 70” by Tetsuya Noda from his “The Diary of Tetsuya Noda: Steven Co Collection,” exhibited at the Ayala Museum on July 2016; image of old Ayala Museum from Skyscraper City, other photos, my own)