"Atlantic" (2016), Arjan Martins. Photo: A Gentil Carioca.

EBetween biographies of great modernist names and theories that question the hegemonic views on culture, through dramaturgies, photography books, inquiries about contemporary works and collections of interviews, many publications that involve the world of the arts were published (and reedited) in 2021. The arte!brasileiros prepared a list of 12 recently released books that provoke us to rethink art in Brazil and in the world. 

Contemporary art: ways to use it, by Paula Braga

Between theoretical chapters and chronicles, Paula Braga guides us through the universe of contemporary art. By analyzing works by renowned creators such as Hélio Oiticica, Cildo Meireles and Beatriz Milhazes, as well as lesser-known names to the general public, the Philosophy professor at UFABC proposes to discuss the ways in which art affects and is affected by reality. Each chapter has two moments: first, a chronicle, in which Paula Braga flirts with autofiction; then, and in dialogue with the text that precedes it, a critical, more academic essay – which in no way corresponds to the serious stereotypes of the academy. “The combination of styles holds people's hands in a random stroll through the maze of contemporary art, without a thread. The proposal is to let yourself be carried away by an author who sees art as a path to existential investigation, the production of thought and the formation of subjectivities that deviate from the norm, without failing to point out the ills of neoliberalism and the disintegration of the Brazilian social fabric in these times. dystopian,” as the release suggests. 

Art and activism: anthology

Published by MASP, the book brings together 84 texts on the relationships between artistic and activist practice in the political, social, institutional, environmental, gender and race fields through time around the world. Among manifestos, theoretical essays, public statements by artists and collectives, we find words by Augusto Boal, Decolonize This Place, León Ferrari, Cildo Meireles, Guerrilla Art Action Group, Internacional Situacionista, among many other authors and groups. The texts address issues such as the political commitments of the modernist avant-gardes and their rejections in favor of protest, criticism, the utopian social experiment or revolutionary propaganda. The volume is organized chronologically, starting with writings from the late 19th century, such as those of the French painter Gustave Courbet, to the practices of artistic activism collectives in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Anthology is the result of a partnership between MASP and the Afterall, Research Center at the University of the Arts, London. 

Spiral time performances: poetics of the body-screen, by Leda Maria Martins

The essayist, poet, playwright and teacher Leda Maria Martins explores the interrelationships between body, time, performance, memory and knowledge production. In dialogue with thinkers such as Alfredo Bosi and João Guimarães Rosa, the author deconstructs the dichotomy between orality and writing emphasized by the West and, “thus, decolonizes Western thought and requalifies Africa as a thinking continent. The word is also inscribed in the body, in memory, in time”, suggests the description of the book. In a set of essays, the author consolidates the concept of spiral time, which emerges from the observation of community practices and the foundation of various African ethnic groups. In the book, the author proposes that the experience and philosophical understanding of time can be expressed by an inscription not necessarily discursive, but no less significant and effective: the language constituted by the body in performance, from the liturgies of the Reign to the performing arts.

Brazilian Contemporary Art: agents, networks, activations, disruptions

Published in two books, Circuito's collection focuses on the art produced in Brazil, bringing together essays by contemporary artists, researchers, critics and curators. The first volume focuses on the period from 1970 to 1999, bringing together 39 texts by important names such as Guy Brett, Lisette Lagnado and Tunga (among many others). In the second volume, we find the words of professionals from the art world such as Aracy Amaral, Ayrson Heráclito, Cauê Alves, Tiago Sant'Ana and Tadeu Chiarelli, who seek to outline a broad panorama of the first two decades of the 21st century, approaching activism in the arts. , the role of criticism and curatorship in the artistic circuit, the arts of different Brazils and their relationship with the political projects in question. 

What comes after the farce?, by Hal Foster

“How does the art world participate in the dilemmas of its time? What does the politics of post-truth and post-shame imply for artists and critics? These are some of the questions that guide Hal Foster's new book, in which the author brings an analysis of the current social, political and cultural context, involving artists, curators, museums and institutions and critics. The essays gathered in the publication discuss changes in art, criticism and fiction in the face of “the current regime of terror and surveillance, extreme inequality, climate disaster and media disruption”, as the book’s description suggests (Read Fabio Cypriano's text about What comes after the farce?).

Brazilian interviews vol. two, Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Bringing together 30 interviews by Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist with Brazilian artists, anthropologists, musicians, filmmakers and other thinkers, the publication seeks to form a multiple panel of what is thought and carried out in the country today. The book brings conversations that range from issues intrinsic to the construction of an artistic lexicon, such as the process of creation and the role of art in society, to debates about pressing issues, such as the fight against racism, the formation of a decolonial art, the conquest of a subjectivity. The publication continues the Hans Ulrich Obrist – Brazilian Interviews vol. 1, published in 2019, in which the curator discussed ideas with masters and pioneers of the XNUMXth century. 

Ubu King, by Alfred Jarry

The French play, performed for the first time in 1888, wins a commemorative edition. With a graphic design by Elaine Ramos, the book features slides interposed in the core with manuscripts and reproductions by avant-garde artists – such as Dora Maar, Miró, Lina Bo Bardi, Max Ernst, Picasso and Raymond Savignac. The work brings the story of Pai Ubu, who embodied the allegory of the grotesque, stupid, intractable politician, who becomes king by cheating and rules on the basis of atrocities against the people and allies. The dramaturgy is accompanied by texts by Firmin Gémier (actor of the first staging of the play), Guillaume Apollinaire, Michel Foucault, Otto Maria Carpeaux, as well as writings by Jarry himself.

Arjan Martins

In a bilingual edition, the book presents an extensive overview of the trajectory of the painter from Rio de Janeiro, compiling an essay written by the curator Paulo Miyada, another by the critic and art historian Michael Asbury, an interview with Arjan Martins by the historian Raquel Barreto and images of 100 works of the artist's repertoire. Arjan Martins dialogues with the modern tradition of Western painting, incorporating an Afro-Brazilian visual repertoire and narrative. The images of immigrants and African descendants are a fundamental part of the artist's repertoire, showing them in everyday actions, and which bring up eminent issues to be discussed: colonial heritage, ethnic identity, blackness, segregation, invisibility. His works also cover cartographies, which arrive as significant elements of the historical period of navigation. 

The Metamorphoses: Madeleine Schwartz 

accompanying the Solo exhibition by Madalena Schwartz, which took place in the first half of 2021 at Instituto Moreira Salles in São Paulo, the catalog was launched the metamorphoses. The publication testifies to the important production of the photographer, who portrayed – in the midst of the military dictatorship – the universe of transvestites and transvestites. “Madalena Schwartz was equally interested in the people she photographed, from the already famous figures to the almost anonymous stars, of brief and intense brightness, that orbited in the center of São Paulo”, points out the release. This volume is completed with an overview of Latin American production on the same theme during those same years of leadership throughout the continent, with works by Paz Errázuriz, Estúdio Luisita, Leandro Katz, Hélio Oiticica, Sergio Zevallos, Vasco Szinetar, Adolfo Patiño, Armando Cristeto and images from the Quiwa Archive and the Trans Argentina Memory Archive.

Ruy Ohtake, architect

Died in November 2021, Ruy Ohtake was one of the most influential names in contemporary Brazilian architecture. Author of hundreds of projects, he was the winner of 25 awards, won the Golden Necklace of the Institute of Architects of Brazil – IAB (2007), received the titles of Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Architecture of Santos and of Professor Honoris Causa of the University Braz vats “His production has been recorded in magazines and books, but until the present moment there had not been a publication containing an impartial and in-depth critical balance, which would allow the insertion of his work in a deserved place in the history of Brazilian architecture. The main purpose of this cultural project is to fulfill this objective”, write Abilio Guerra and Silvana Romano Santos, organizers of the publication. 

Conversations with Cezanne, by Michael Doran

Researcher at the Courtauld Institute, London, Michael Doran seeks to draw a living portrait of Paul Cézanne, gathering and comparing the main testimonies of those who lived with the painter between 1894 and 1906 - and recorded both the content of their conversations and the originality of the conceptions of the painter. artist, as well as his daily life, his habits and idiosyncrasies, “his procedures towards the pictorial motif and even the ordering of colors in his palette”. Through letters, newspaper articles, accounts of conversations and critical and biographical essays, “the Cézanne that emerges from these conversations and testimonies”, writes Paulo Pasta in the afterword. 

Guignard: Mutilated Angel, by Marcelo Bortoloti

The book takes up the work and life of Alberto da Veiga Guignard, a painter whose works – especially his landscapes of Minas, real and imaginary – were striking in Brazilian modernism. The “mutilated angel” – as the poet Manuel Bandeira called him – received this nickname because he suffered from a severe case of cleft lip. Based on extensive research, Marcelo Bortoloti not only reconstructs the painter's biography, but also a historical portrait of interwar Europe and modernist Brazil.

1 comment

  1. Please inform the editor and organizer of the two volumes of “Arte Contemporânea Brasileira”. The title is too generic for a Google search to work. Thanks

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