The exhibition is organized around five disparate but interconnected themes: The Body/The Social Body; Shifting Identities; The Reinvention of the Monochrome; Landscape, Reimagined; and Impossible Objects. These thematic nuclei have porous boundaries that enable visitors to chart their own paths. The works range from small objects to monumental installations, each unique in scope and subject matter.
Although these artworks may differ esthetically, there is much that connects them conceptually. Common threads are recurrent references to Brazilian history, shared experiences, indigenous mythologies, and social norms (and transgressions). The featured artists often invoke national art histories, either in tribute or subversion, but also engage with international artistic trends. The title Past/Future/Present alludes to the creative dialogues they maintain with past Brazilian artistic traditions while also looking toward the future with a wider, global perspective.
This exhibition is a singular opportunity for American audiences to experience an in-depth look at the practice of Brazilian artists now recognized as the pioneers of their generation. The diversity of their proposals illustrates that contemporary Brazilian art cannot be defined by a single “ism” or contained within any one category. These artists enter into dialogues with the traditions of the past at the same time that they participate in current global artistic discussions. Their simultaneous engagement with the past and the future speaks to a singular creative present, and has made Brazil a serious contender on the international stage of contemporary art.
Header: Lia Chaia, Minhocão (detail), 2006. Video installation 18’05”. Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo Collection,Loan from Eduardo Brandão and Jan Fjeld. Photo by Edouard Fraipont.
Left: Dora Longo Bahia, Fúlvio e a Medusa (Fúlvio and the Medusa), 2001. Cibrachrome transparency, light box, and alabaster. Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo Collection, Loan from Eduardo Brandão and Jan Fjeld. Photo by Ding Musa.
Because the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art houses one of the most important collections of Brazilian art in the world, this exhibition represents only one constellation of artworks among many others that could be imagined. It is not intended as a definitive survey of contemporary artistic production in Brazil, but rather to contribute to the ongoing conversation about what Brazilian art is and can be.
Featured Artists: Albano Afonso, Keila Alaver, Efrain Almeida, Rafael Assef, Dora Longo Bahia, Rodrigo Braga, Waltercio Caldas, Rogério Canella, Carlito Carvalhosa, Leda Catunda, Lia Chaia, Sandra Cinto, Felipe Cohen, Rochelle Costi, José Damasceno, Lenora de Barros, Antonio Dias, Iran do Espírito Santo, Marcius Galan, Anna Bella Geiger, Carmela Gross, Tadeu Jungle, Lucia Koch, Nelson Leirner, Jac Leirner, José Leonilson, Artur Lescher, Laura Lima, Antonio Manuel, Cinthia Marcelle, Marepe, Rodrigo Matheus, Cildo Meireles, Beatriz Milhazes, Odires Mlászho, Marcelo Moscheta, Pedro Motta, Vik Muniz, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Nazareth Pacheco, Rosana Paulino, Pazé, Penna Prearo, Florian Raiss, Caio Reisewitz, Rosângela Rennó, Eryk Rocha & Tunga, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Regina Silveira, Valeska Soares, Ana Maria Tavares, Tunga, Adriana Varejão, Cássio Vasconcellos, Laura Vinci, Carlos Zilio, Marcelo Zocchio. Past/Future/Present: Contemporary Brazilian Art from the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo is organized by Phoenix Art Museum in collaboration with the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo (MAM-SP). This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, the J.W. Kieckhefer Foundation and the Margaret T. Morris Foundation.
Odires Mlászho, Marcus Aurelius (da série: Cavo um fóssil repleto de anzóis) (Marcus Aurelius [from the series: I Dig Up a Fossil Full of Hooks]), 1996. Photograph. Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo Collection, Gift of José Mindlin. Photo by Odires Mlászho.
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