Felipe Scovino

  • View of “Maria Martins,” 2022. Photo: Selmy Yassuda.

    Maria Martins

    Maria Martins (1894–1973) spent much of her life outside Brazil (she was a diplomat’s wife in countries throughout Europe, South America, and Asia, as well as in the United States), and her work was not widely lauded in her native country until the 1950s. Even so, her art, and her sculpture in particular, was clearly crucial to the emergence of abstraction in Brazil and a growing focus on indigenous beliefs in its art. “Maria Martins: Desejo imaginante” (Maria Martins: Tropical Fictions), curated by Isabella Rjeille and Fernanda Lopes, presented Martins’s sculptures, engravings, and drawings—along

  • Mário Cravo Neto, Odé, 1989, ink-jet print, 39 3⁄8 × 39 3⁄8".

    Mário Cravo Neto

    This retrospective, subtitled “Espíritos sem nome” (Nameless Spirits) and curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio, was a panorama of the work of one of the most important Brazilian photographers. Born in the state of Bahia in 1947, Mário Cravo Neto was the son of a sculptor, Mário Cravo Jr. In 1968, in one of his earliest works, Cravo Neto photographed the mythic set of soapstone sculptures of the twelve disciples executed by Brazilian Baroque sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, popularly known as Aleijadinho (the Little Cripple). These images already reveal an interest in plasticity and the framing of

  • Manoel de Oliveira, Untitled, 1950, ink-jet print from a negative, 6 × 8 7⁄8".

    Manoel de Oliveira

    For “Manoel de Oliveira Photographer,” curator António Preto gathered more than a hundred of the renowned Portuguese film director’s photographs, many of which had never before been shown. Produced between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s, these images offered a valuable critical reading of modernity in Portugal and illuminated the creative processes of one of its great artists.

    In the works in the first part of the exhibition, Oliveira’s camera turned to the interior of the country—to the vastness of its landscape, the labor in its fields, and the individuality of farmworkers who cease to be

  • Amilton Neves Cuna, Grand Entrance, 2019, epson hot press bright fine art print, 21 3/4 × 29 1/2''.
    picks August 16, 2021

    “Presence: Five Contemporary African Photographers”

    The subject of this exhibition is Africa, as seen and experienced by five contemporary African photographers. This Africa is by no means an exoticized continent or a primitive, timeless whole.

    In Grand Entrance, 2019, Amilton Neves Cuna, who hails from Maputo, Mozambique, delves into the inhabited ruins of the Grand Hotel of the coastal city of Beira. Despite the atmosphere of catastrophe, the space is teeming with resilience. Sunlight floods the once-majestic rotunda, illuminating signs of life that offset the surrounding desolation: a mother climbing a stone staircase with a baby in her arms,

  • Paulo Vivacqua, Babbling Forms, 2019, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks December 28, 2020

    Paulo Vivacqua

    For at least twenty years, Paulo Vivacqua has dedicated himself to research involving the fabrication of sound objects in Brazil. As a musician, he composes electroacoustic minimalist pieces presented either in concerts or in gallery settings. In the last few years, he has begun to introduce elements of painting into his sound works. Stepping into this exhibition feels a little like entering Giverny: Corale (Coral), 2019–, a rainbow of round monochrome speakers, is arrayed throughout the space in an archipelago of clustered, colorful mycological structures (what if Monet, like Dylan, had gone

  • Solange Escosteguy, Liberdade (Freedom), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 39 3⁄8 × 39 3⁄8".

    Solange Escosteguy

    Solange Escosteguy’s artistic trajectory began with her participation in the seminal exhibition “Nova objetividade brasileira” (New Brazilian Objectivity) at Rio de Janeiro’s Museu de Arte Moderna in 1967. In the exhibition catalogue, the show’s main organizer, the artist Hélio Oiticica, described Brazilian avant-garde art as characterized by, among other things, the participation of the viewer, the tendency for the object to negate and supersede the frame of the easel, the adoption of collective propositions, and new formulations of the concept of antiart. In considering the work of Escosteguy,

  • Djanira da Motta e Silva, Vendedora de flores (Flower Seller), 1947, oil on canvas, 39 5⁄8 × 25 5⁄8".

    Djanira da Motta e Silva

    Originating at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo and organized by Rodrigo Moura and Isabella Rjeille, this exhibition of works by Djanira da Motta e Silva (1914–1979)—or simply Djanira, as she is more commonly known—showcased nearly four decades of paintings by the primarily self-taught artist of working-class origin and indigenous ancestry. Often dismissed as “naive” or “primitive” (one American reviewer observed that a painting of hers would look at home on the cover of a New Yorker), the artist’s oeuvre has been symbolically effaced from the canon of Brazilian art, lending all the more the

  • Hudinilson Jr., Narcisse–Gesto II (Narcissus–Gesture II), 1986, forty photo-copies, each 9 × 12 1⁄4".

    Hudinilson Jr.

    The beginnings of Hudinilson Jr.’s solo artistic career in the early 1980s coincided with the final years of the dictatorship in Brazil. His initial forays in the artistic field had begun the previous decade, when he cofounded the 3Nós3 collective with Rafael França and Mario Ramiro. One of the group’s most ironic performances, Ensacamentos (Baggings), 1979, exemplifies these artists’ response to autocratic rule. At night, they roamed around São Paulo and used plastic bags to cover the faces of statues and monuments that invariably represented historical deeds related to military conquests. The

  • Paulo Roberto Leal, Armadura (Armature), 1978, canvas on canvas, 46 5⁄8 × 46 5⁄8".

    Paulo Roberto Leal

    Paulo Roberto Leal (1946–1991) began his artistic career in the late 1960s. Based in Rio de Janeiro, he had the historical distance to perceive the importance of the Neo-Concretism of the preceding generation of Brazilian artists, especially Willys de Castro’s combination of emptiness, inventive settings, and painting in his “Objetos ativos” (Active Objects), ca. 1959–63, and Lygia Clark’s invention of the “organic line” when she abandoned the canvas in the mid-1950s in favor of works constructed from wooden panels with spaces between them. Each of those gaps made up, in the words of the critic

  • Luiz Zerbini, Vento Voa (Wind Flies), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 79 x 118".
    picks January 09, 2019

    Luiz Zerbini

    What landscape is exactly remains a constant concern in Luiz Zerbini’s work. The mood of the Rio-based artist’s earliest paintings, from the 1980s, suggests not only the elation and foreboding with which Brazil regarded its future in the wake of dictatorship, but also the explosion of rock music and new media. Since the 1990s and into this century, Zerbini has engaged the characters, architectural shapes, rhythm, sound, and color of a city where nature is a steadfast presence. Mindful of modernist architecture’s influence in Brazil during the second half of the twentieth century, the artist

  • Miguel Rio Branco, Roman Light, 2018, triptych, ink-jet prints, overall, 31 1⁄2 × 94 1⁄2".

    Miguel Rio Branco

    Miguel Rio Branco’s recent exhibition “Através do olhar dourado” (Through the Golden Eye) brought together a collection of photographs produced in various times and places. Beyond the way in which he merges photography and painting, color and light, Rio Branco is interested in aberrant visual stories—narratives and images that recodify ideas of beauty and relevance in art. An iconic example is his early work “Maciel,” 1979. In that photographic series, the artist—playing on the line between documentary and fiction—revealed bodies, architecture in ruins, and the everyday life and