Brazilian Art and the Return to Painting in the 1980s

Research Seminar

  • Online event via Zoom
  • Datum: 13.03.2024
  • Uhrzeit: 11:00 - 13:00
  • Vortragender: Michael Asbury
  • Ort: Zoom Platform
  • Kontakt:
 Brazilian Art and the Return to Painting in the 1980s
Reviewing the samba school processions during the 1987 carnival in Rio de Janeiro, art critic Frederico Morais cited Achille Bonito Oliva. The Italian art critic and curator had been in Brazil only a few days before, and caused outrage with certain derisory comments about the local culture; notably, that Brazilian art was inextricably associated with samba.

In the review Morais proposed a reversal of sorts, not least due to his questioning the implied hierarchy between ‘high art’ and popular culture. During the early 1980s a new generation of artists had become associated with the medium of painting, in great part as a response to contemporaneous international trends such as Oliva's own Italian Transvanguardia, German Neo-Expressionism and 'Bad-Painting' in the United States. Interestingly, or perhaps revealingly, the national label associated with those examples did not apply to the Brazilian case. Instead, a generational 'brand' was coined to a large extent through the 1984 exhibition 'Como Vai Você Geração 80' (How are you 80s Generation).

That generation of artists that emerged together with the demise of military rule and the return to democracy has been broadly associated with a festive mood that contrasts, at first sight, with the austerity of the conceptual practices that preceded them. In this research seminar, Asbury reviews the case of the A Moreninha collective in Rio de Janeiro, whose activities took place during that 1987 carnival yet whose repercussions in critiquing both Oliva and later Morais himself, transcend the seemingly carnivalesque nature of their actions.

Michael Asbury is Deputy Director of the research centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL Currently on a visiting fellowship at the History of Art Dept, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. Recent authored books include: Today is Always Yesterday: Contemporary Brazilian Art, London, Reaktion 2023; Floriano Romano: A Pele do Mundo, Rio de Janeiro, Futuros, Arte Tecnologia, 2023; Marcelo Silveira: ATA, São Paulo, Nara Roesler Books, 2022.

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Image: Jorge Barrão, comic illustrations (detail) for: Orelha, artists' book, by: Alexandre Dacosta, André Costa, Claudio Fonseca, Cristina Canale, Eneas Valle, Gerardo Vilaseca, Hilton Berredo, John Nicholson, Jorge Barrão, Lucia Beatriz, Marcia Ramos, Marcio Doctors, Paulo Leal, Ricardo Basbaum, Solange Oliveira, Valério Rodrigues. Graphic design Luciano Figueiredo.

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