Kaira M. Cabañas

  • Lasar Segall

    Recent Hollywood films such as The Monuments Men (2014) have dramatized the Nazis’ confiscation of modern art and its postwar recovery. Among the artists whose work had been confiscated was the Brazilian painter Lasar Segall. The notorious exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art), inaugurated in Munich in 1937, targeted modern art through various didactic slogans, including “Nature as seen by sick minds,” and declared the diseased origins of the art on display. That exhibition included eleven works by Segall—selected from among nearly fifty that were confiscated by the Nazis after

  • Anna Maria Maiolino

    FOR THOSE FAMILIAR WITH THE HISTORY of feminist exhibitions in the United States, the blown-up photograph at the entrance to this retrospective of the work of Anna Maria Maiolino was a familiar sight: a shot of three dozen eggs randomly placed on a cobblestone street, with a human walking across the scene. Captured midstride, with all but calves, ankles, and feet cropped from the frame, the figure delicately navigates the fragile shells filled with life matter. Taken from the Brazilian artist’s series “Fotopoemação” (Photopoemaction), 1973–, this picture is part of a triptych, another image from

  • “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980”

    Much ink has been spilled on Jacques Derrida’s passionate exchange with Michel Foucault around the latter’s publication of Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique (Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason) in 1961. I would like to recall that the primary issue for Derrida was not that madness was expulsed during the Classical Age, but that madness is always already internal to reason. A similar claim informs this compelling postwar survey of international art, but it does so by focusing on the procedures immanent to the artwork on display, while

  • “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA”

    IN 2002, the Getty Foundation set out to invigorate the study of local artistic practices. The result: Pacific Standard Time, a multi-institutional initiative focused on the diversity of Los Angeles–based artmaking. Opening this fall, its third iteration, “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” continues earlier efforts to “forge a critical regionalism sensitive to specific, local conditions,” as Julia Bryan-Wilson wrote in these pages in 2011. Yet it does so by embracing an explicitly international perspective. Key here is that “LA/LA” crosses borders to feature modern and contemporary art from Latin

  • “TARSILA DO AMARAL: INVENTING MODERN ART IN BRAZIL”

    Designed to introduce North American audiences to Tarsila do Amaral, a leading Brazilian post-Cubist painter, this show features Abaporu, 1928, a sweeping, Picassoesque depiction of a man seated beside a cactus, which helped spark Brazil’s influential Anthropophagist movement. Inspired by Amaral’s work, Oswald de Andrade penned the “Manifesto Antropófago” (Cannibalist Manifesto) that same year, invoking the indigenous ritual of eating the enemy’s flesh as a metaphor for the country’s transformative appropriation of Euro-American

  • “TERESA BURGA: MANO MAL DIBUJADA”

    The work of Teresa Burga, a Peruvian Conceptualist and founding member of the late 1960s Grupo Arte Nuevo, is being showcased at SculptureCenter in the artist’s first US solo museum exhibition, which will present approximately ten pieces that span her entire, ongoing career. Prominent among these will be Burga’s 1968 “Prisma” sculptures, multicolored plywood polyhedrons covered in painted symbols—from schematic faces to abstract geometries to traffic signs—that evoke the artist’s distinct Pop sensibility and reflect her interest in information systems. The

  • Tamar Guimarães

    For her first solo exhibition in Spain, Tamar Guimarães presented the thirty-six-minute film La incorrupta (The Uncorrupted), 2016, which was commissioned by the Reina Sofía. In it she presents a story about a guest curator and her potential exhibition, using the very museum in which the work is screened as the film’s setting. Throughout the film—an amalgam of documentary, fiction, and essay—viewers are privy to conversations among the curator (played by the artist), museum director, and staff, in addition to confidential discussions among the latter. The exhibition’s point of departure

  • passages March 24, 2017

    Ferreira Gullar (1930–2016)

    ALTHOUGH FAMILIAR WITH HIS WORK FROM MY UNDERGRADUATE YEARS, I never had any reason to reach out to Ferreira Gullar until 2010, when I was preparing the exhibition “Specters of Artaud” for the Reina Sofía. In my research interview with him, we reviewed some well-trodden history: his Concrete poetry of the 1950s and his authorship of the 1959 “Neoconcrete Manifesto” that marked his and his cohort’s break with the rationality of Concrete poetry and visual art. Around the turn of the decade, he also penned a series of newspaper articles titled “Stages of Contemporary Art,” a programmatic and

  • Hélio Oiticica

    “HÉLIO OITICICA: TO ORGANIZE DELIRIUM” was the first US exhibition in more than two decades to feature the full breadth of the Brazilian artist’s vibrant aesthetic production, from his early experiments with color and geometrically shaped supports—including his “Bólides” (Fireballs), 1963–69, “Núcleos” (Nuclei), 1960–66, and “Parangolés,” 1964–79—to his immersive environments. Among the latter was his seminal Tropicália, 1966–67, in which visitors are invited to physically engage an array of materials, from gravel and sand to poems and a TV set. The survey also marked the artist’s

  • Jonathas De Andrade

    The tension between documentary and fiction promises to define Jonathas de Andrade’s first major exhibition outside his native Brazil. In O peixe (The Fish), 2016, he filmed fishermen tenderly embracing their dying catches, forging a new ritual through labor. With O levante (The Uprising), 2012–13, de Andrade was given permission by the Recife government to film a horse-drawn-cart race of his own design in the city (where farm animals are usually prohibited), thereby bringing the reality of the country’s rural poor to this cultural center through fiction. Highlighting

  • “Anita Malfatti: 100 Years of Modern Art”

    Having left Brazil in 1910 to study in Berlin and New York, Anita Malfatti gained notoriety when she returned to São Paulo seven years later on account of an exhibition of her Expressionist- and Cubist-inspired paintings. Though stridently defended by Oswald de Andrade and other writers and artists later associated with the Semana de Arte Moderna festival, her paintings incited the polemical objections of such academic critics as Monteiro Lobato, who designated modern art “abnormal,” comparing it to psychopathological art. This exhibition commemorates that

  • 32nd Bienal de São Paulo: “Live Uncertainty”

    How does one embrace uncertainty without succumbing to fear? This installment of the Bienal de São Paulo will offer provisional answers to the question at a time when the globe is increasingly faced with dramatic instability in the political, social, and natural worlds. Rounding up eighty-one participants from thirty-three countries, the exhibition will explore topics ranging from ecology and cosmology to collective knowledge. Following the recent trend of research-based art, many of the show’s works will

  • “The Illusive Eye: Op Art and the Americas in the 1960s”

    Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, El Museo del Barrio (in partnership with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires) will revisit the Museum of Modern Art’s 1965 exhibition “The Responsive Eye,” with the stated ambition of presenting the history of Op art from a Latin American perspective. The show includes some seventy paintings, sculptures, and environments produced during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s by some fifty artists, including Julio Le Parc, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Jesús Rafael Soto (who refused to participate in MoMA’s show) as well as several

  • “Playgrounds”

    By framing contemporary artists’ work in relation to that of Lina Bo Bardi, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo aims to recover the legacies of this Brazilian architect, who designed the museum’s current home and who advocated a social vision of democracy and multiplicity. MASP recently reconstructed Bo Bardi’s iconic glass easel display for its collection, and with the title “Playgrounds,” the curators allude to the institution’s homonymous 1969 exhibition, which—as this show promises to do—took the ludic dimension of Bo Bardi’s

  • Antonio Dias

    In 1977, while living in Milan, Brazilian artist Antonio Dias traveled to Nepal in search of handmade paper. Upon his arrival in Kathmandu, the country’s capital, he discovered that there were no suppliers. Thus began his search to identify local craftsmen who might assist him in the paper’s production. Yet this quasi-anthropological excursion is less important than the artist’s insistence on producing a support that would reveal its very specific materiality. In all the works in “Papéis do Nepal 1977–1986,” one could see how the handmade paper displays a certain warp and woof; how it flaunts

  • Mathias Goeritz

    El retorno de la serpiente. Mathias Goeritz y la invención de la arquitectura emocional” (The Return of the Snake: Mathias Goeritz and the Invention of Emotional Architecture) presented some two hundred works and documents by the German-born artist, who worked in Mexico from 1949 until his death in 1990, alongside those of many of his peers. As the title suggests, the show, curated by Francisco Reyes Palma, took Goeritz’s conception of “emotional architecture” as its theme, and so it fittingly opened with his sculpture Ataque o la serpiente del Eco (Attack or the Serpent at Eco), 1953/2014.

  • Casa 7

    In the early 1980s, Carlito Carvalhosa, Fabio Miguez, Paulo Monteiro, Rodrigo Andrade, and Nuno Ramos formed a studio collective and dubbed it Casa 7 (House 7), referring to their address in the Pinheiros neighborhood of São Paulo. The artists employed industrial house paint and craft paper to create their large-scale paintings so characteristic of that decade. Ten of these works (all from 1984–85) will be on view in this exhibition, providing a fresh angle from which to reassess their practice as part of the decade’s neo-expressionist turn. Thanks to a new documentary

  • Melanie Smith

    In Melanie Smith’s recent exhibition “Fordlandia,” five paintings, eight collages, and a video (all works 2014) address an industrial complex constructed by Henry Ford in the middle of Brazil’s Amazon jungle in the late 1920s. The compound was intended not only as a site for the processing of natural rubber but also as home to a model community of producers, fostered through education and prescribed diets. In the collages on display (all Untitled), Smith pasted blueprints from the Ford Foundation’s archive of technical drawings of car parts on top of images of Amazonian flora and fauna cut out

  • Piero Manzoni

    Piero Manzoni’s influence is as broad as his career was short. This exhibition will include approximately thirty works spanning 1958 to 1963, six of the artist’s eight years of output (he died in 1963 at the age of twenty-nine). In addition to his Dada-inflected works, such as Merda d’artista (Artist’s Shit), 1961, the show will highlight the artist’s expansion of the monochrome paradigm and his proto-Conceptualist gestures. Like his peers the Nouveaux Réalistes and the Group Zero artists, Manzoni attacked the notion of the expressive subject. Accompanied by a

  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato

    “He doesn’t belong to cliques / He paints what he feels like painting / Amen.” Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato (1900–1995) wrote this prayer on the reverse side of an untitled painting from 1948. And indeed, Lorenzato was an artist who just seemed to follow his heart, with little regard for conventions of genre or style. This exhibition of the self-taught painter’s work, curated by artists Alexandre da Cunha and Rivane Neuenschwander, included an assortment of: still lifes, rural and semi-urban landscapes, as well as fully abstract compositions. The two works that opened the show announced that the