The centenary of the 1922 Modern Art Week and the hundredth anniversary of the release of one of the most important novels of the 20th century – Ulysses, by James Joyce – coexist with a moment of constant reflection and analysis on contemporary art. In this year, which seems to put the past and future, classics and experimentation, in dialogue even more intensely, these themes appear in the new books published by publishers throughout Brazil. THE arte!brasileiros checked out some of the latest releases and selected seven books to read in early 2022.

Modernity in black and white, by Rafael Cardoso

If modernism is generally understood as an elite movement, associated with a select group from São Paulo, Rafael Cardoso seeks a radical reinterpretation, bringing to light elements that are absolutely central to the modernist development – ​​and which are not found only in São Paulo. “The greater meaning of modernism in Brazil can only be understood when considering other currents of cultural modernization in parallel to the one generally recognized. The term is usually applied in the Brazilian context in a narrow and quite peculiar way, revealing the assumptions that underlie it. The names of our canon derive almost exclusively from the elitist spheres of literature, architecture, art and erudite music, while the alternative modernisms that sprang from popular and mass culture are forgotten or ignored. of Letters. He adds: “It is worth questioning how modernizing agents as disparate as Mário de Andrade, Monteiro Lobato, Oswald de Andrade or Plínio Salgado set out to rethink, or even refound, Brazilian culture in its entirety, without ever realizing the presumption inherent in the idea of ​​thinking about Brazil from São Paulo”. (Learn more)

Modernisms 1922-2022, organized by Gênese Andrade

From the appropriation of the indigenous theme in some of the main modernist works to the dialogue with the feminist thought that echoes in the heirs of Anthropophagy authors, walking between the modernists' relations with politics and the representation and representation of black people in the artistic production of the period, the book released by Companhia das Letras shows that revisiting 1922 involves advances and setbacks, new questions and open answers in a century-old reflection. The publication brings together 29 unpublished essays – by researchers such as José Miguel Wisnik, Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, Walnice Nogueira Galvão and Regina Teixeira de Barros -, which revolve around the antecedents and developments of the Week of Modern Art. According to the organizer Gênese Andrade in the book’s presentation, the objective of the essays is “to celebrate without ceasing to question, to fill in gaps, to provoke new reflections, to be a link between the Semana de 22 and its developments, to revisit their memories and their critical fortune, provoke revisions and enforce the meaning of the manifestos”. (Learn more)

Where Art Lives in Latin America, organized by João Paulo Siqueira Lopes and Fernando Ticoulat

As we leaf through the pages of this publication, we stroll through museums, foundations, artist residencies, independent spaces and sculpture parks in several Latin American countries. Published by Act, the trilingual edition presents 35 emblematic places in the region's artistic circuit, bringing together unpublished images, critical texts and interviews with curators and directors of the institutions, deepening connections, similarities and differences in the Latin American artistic milieu. “Between the artist, his works and the public he is addressing, there are several arrangements of spaces, from the most transitory and radical to the institutionalized. This publication seeks to show that they are no longer just about housing, caring for and showing art objects – a standard that is in modern art, from the museum to the secular cathedral. In the contemporary, the places that receive and exhibit art had to adapt to the artists' innovations and their increasingly heterogeneous proposals”, writes the curator and organizer of the book Fernando Ticoulat in the release.  

what do artists do, by Leonard Koren

Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Richard Serra, Christo and Jeanne-Claude are the starting point for analyzes of contemporary artistic creation in the new book by Leonard Koren, published by Editora Cobogó. The New York writer and architect brings reflections on the works and trajectories of these important names to think about the many ways of being an artist and the different ways of materializing the concept of “art”. (Learn more)

Ulysses, by James Joyce

The great novel of the 20th century completes its centenary in 2022 and gets a special commemorative edition by Companhia das Letras. Inspired by Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses is set in Dublin, and, in place of Odysseus' adventures on his return to Ithaca, tells the stories of Leopold Bloom throughout June 16, 1904, on his way home. The narrative, initially censored in the United States and the United Kingdom, is now considered a landmark in modern world literature. With a revised translation by Caetano W. Galindo, the new publication features engravings by Robert Motherwell – made for a special and limited edition of 1988 – and a wide critical apparatus with unpublished texts by Dirce Waltrick do Amarante, Fábio Akcelrud Durão, Fritz Senn, John McCourt , Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos and Vitor Alevato do Amaral, in addition to reviews written at the time of the launch by Louis Gillet and Joseph Collins. 🇧🇷Learn more)

Disject, by Samuel Beckett

One of the most influential writers and playwrights of the 20th century, Samuel Beckett has several of his writings brought together in a new publication by Biblioteca Azul. Literary criticism, reviews of music and the arts, essays on the works of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Dante, Mozart and Ezra Pound are placed alongside comments on excerpts from his own work and the fragment human desires, a sketch in play form kept unpublished until the original publication of this volume. (Learn more)

Slight Real Shift, by Andrea Caruso Saturtino

Immersing in contemporary theatrical productions, researcher, artist, curator and producer Andrea Caruso Saturtino weaves an analysis of new ways of doing theater in dialogue with the complex social conjuncture. Seeking to classify the main trends detected, the book – published by Edições Sesc-SP – is divided into three sections, all of which analyze contemporary scenic montages. The first, Utopia, is based on the understanding of the production of knowledge in the arts as a constant renewal of language; the second, Experience Sharing, addresses the proposition of 'theater of the real', which promotes interaction with the public through a social fact of contemporaneity; the final section of the book deals with the use of devices and the absence of the figure of the actor on stage, with the displacement of the central axis of the shows towards the audience. For the author, “it is interesting to think about theater today in terms of its constitution, in the construction of the scene from the processes of translation of the world it adopts”. (Learn more)

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