Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (NuMu) is the first and only contemporary art museum in Guatemala, dedicated exclusively to supporting, exhibiting, and documenting contemporary art. Founded in 2012, NuMu is an artist-run space, co- founded and directed by artists Jessica Kairé and Stefan Benchoam.
Over eight years ago, we began having conversations about the richness of the local Guatemalan art community, and the absence historically of institutions to support it. We discussed the need for establishing a museum in the country - the very first that could fully support contemporary artists, thinkers, and cultural producers - an organization that would welcome international exchange and offer accessible programing for the local community.
When we first conceived the idea for a museum, we considered a digital platform but our conversations gradually shifted. Years later, we stumbled across an amazing building with a “for rent” sign hanging on its facade. The next day, we signed a one- year lease for the space, and have hosted a series of exhibitions and events in it ever since.
NuMu’s physical space measures approximately 2 x 2.5 meters and is shaped like an egg, as it was originally designed as a drive-thru egg selling kiosk.. Over the years, this iconic structure has become embedded in Guatemala City’s urban landscape, and is probably the only one of its kind in the world. NuMu’s minuscule size has led artists to think creatively about space, and develop site-specific projects that would not otherwise have come to life.
Central to our mission, is to offer the necessary support to realize artistic projects of great value, despite the shortage of local institutions and both private and governmental funding. We believe that by carefully combining local and international projects, we are creating opportunities for collaborations to take place and critical thought to develop. For us, this project is about bringing people together to experiment, question, and share.
NuMu re-evaluates what it means to be a contemporary art museum in the 21st century, in both the local context of Guatemala City and the international art scene.