NO wonder they call Bernardo Paz the “Emperor of Inhotim.”
About 1,000 employees, including curators, botanists and concrete pourers, swarm around Inhotim, his contemporary-art complex in the hills of southeast Brazil. Globetrotting art pilgrims absorb stunning works like Doug Aitken’s “Sonic Pavilion,” which uses high-sensitivity microphones placed in a 633-foot hole to deliver the bass murmur of Earth’s inner depths.
A whiff of megalomania seems to emanate from Inhotim’s eucalyptus forests, where Mr. Paz has perched more than 500 works by foreign and Brazilian artists. His botanical garden contains more than 1,400 species of palm trees. He glows when speaking of Inhotim’s rare and otherworldly plants, like the titun arum from Sumatra, called the “corpse flower” because of its hideous stench.
Mr. Paz, a lanky, chain-smoking, 61-year-old mining magnate, speaks in barely audible whispers. He married his sixth wife in October. He has white hair down to his shoulders and pale blue eyes, giving him an appearance reminiscent of the gaunt, debauched Brazilian rancher played by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog’s 1987 film, “Cobra Verde.”
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