Silas Martí

  • Uýra, Elementar (A última Floresta – Terra pelada) (Elementary [The Last Forest – Bare Earth]), 2018, photographic print, 17 3/4 x 28 1/2".
    slant September 13, 2021

    Smoke Signals

    “THOUGH IT’S DARK, STILL I SING” is the name of the show. Though it’s a pandemic and the country is on the verge of collapse, still we find ways to celebrate. Nothing spells dystopia more than a tightly packed queue of art-world elites each waiting their turn to be tested for Covid-19 before entering the VIP opening of this year’s much-anticipated thirty-fourth Bienal de São Paulo. Screens mounted at the door of Oscar Niemeyer’s modernist pavilion in the city’s biggest park beeped and grew brighter with each test result, allowing the patient to step into the premises. It felt like boarding a

  • Denilson Baniwa, Brasil terra indígena (Brazil Indigenous Land), 2020, HD video, color, silent, 4 minutes 52 seconds. Installation view, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo. In collaboration with Coletivo Coletores.

    Where we’re at: Mexico City, São Paulo



    DURING THE MONTH of August, the Museo Anahuacalli and the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City received solo visitors, allowing them to freely wander the premises by themselves for forty minutes each. Called Museos Uno en Uno, the initiative was a way to expand museological practices to respond to the emotional needs of the Covid-drained-art-hungry public. It was only possible through the work of a disinterested group of museum professionals, art enthusiasts, and artists, many of whom volunteered as museum guards.

    Another support structure in Mexico City’s art world was


    Curated by Alex Gartenfeld and Gean Moreno

    Paulo Nazareth came to the attention of many thanks to his 2011 performance-installation Banana Market/Art Market, for which the itinerant Brazilian artist hocked bananas from a dilapidated green minibus at that year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. Nazareth now returns to the Magic City with “Melee,” his first solo museum show in the United States. Encompassing photographs, paintings, videos, and several new bodies of work, the exhibition foregrounds his fresh efforts to reframe the fraught race relations that structure society in the Americas. Among the show’s

  • Paula Raia, Maria Montero, and Fernanda Vidigal.
    diary April 09, 2019

    Fingers Crossed

    IT WAS MEANT to be noted. On a table near the front door, Maria Montero, the founder of Sé, a hip gallery in the heart of São Paulo, left some black ribbons with a message written in bold white letters. The dealer’s would-be souvenir from an evening of cocktails at her home on the first floor of Oscar Niemeyer’s iconic Copan building read “1964 never again.” It was the night of March 31, the kickoff of SP-Arte week in Brazil’s biggest city and also the fifty-fifth anniversary of the military coup that initiated more than two decades of brutal dictatorship, with a regime that tortured and murdered


    Curated by José Esparza Chong Cuy

    Over the past decade, Jonathas de Andrade has proven himself to be among the keenest visual interpreters of the Brazilian psyche. In installations, photographs, films, and performances, the Maceió-born artist has undertaken an elaborate investigation of race and class in a nation whose delirious quest for progress and modernity is still marked by the lethal remnants of slavery. This condition, and the place of the black male body within it, has shaped the work in the artist’s most significant museum presentation to date. Accompanied by a rich catalogue, the show


    Curated by Jochen Volz and Valeria Piccoli

    Since the late 1980s, Ernesto Neto has displayed an uncanny, sensual understanding of sculpture and its relation to the spectator, imploding all formal innova­tions of Brazilian modernity and Neo­Concretism. His retrospective at São Paulo’s Pinacoteca—itself a feat of twentieth­century Brazilian art, having been renovated in the 1990s by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha—will include some sixty pieces, dating from the late 1980s to this year; the selection promises to exacerbate the friction between the loose, organic contours of his polyamide

  • SOPHIE. All photos: Victor Valery.
    diary November 13, 2018

    Paint It Red

    THE STAINS WERE HARD TO CLEAN. Even after the crime scene had been cleared, the sidewalk was still a faint bloody red. Days before YAGA—a new festival celebrating São Paulo’s nightlife and queer subcultures—took over the popular downtown club Love Story, Jessica Gonzaga, a trans woman, was murdered just a few blocks away. Witnesses remember her killers shouting far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s name as they stabbed her to death.

    Emboldened by Bolsonaro’s victory, his supporters now flood the streets of Brazil, repeating the new president’s homophobic, misogynistic rants. These

  • “Histórias Afro-Atlânticas”

    In the most violent and uncertain times of its recent history, Brazil is revisiting the origins of its racial frictions: the slave trade. “Histórias afro-atlânticas” (Afro-Atlantic Histories) is a massive, 380-work survey of African, Latin American, and European art from the past five centuries, chronicling the largest diaspora in modern history. Nearly half of all Africans captured by slave traders were brought to Brazil, from the time the Portuguese arrived, in the sixteenth century, all the way through

  • Left: Architect Rodrigo Ohtake and writer Ana Carolina Ralston at Z42. Right: Artists Lenora de Barros and Raul Mourão at Jacaranda.
    diary October 17, 2016

    Silent Nights

    IN A PACKED GALLERY AT JACARANDA, a new artist-run space in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Lenora de Barros kicked off a string of openings and parties surrounding the sixth edition of ArtRio with a performance in which she nailed paper letters forming the word silence to a wall. Her very loud action spells out the very absence of sound, a noisy and visual translation of the bizarre state of affairs in this city still in financial hangover from the Olympic Games. The sporting event that ended over a month ago left indelible marks in urban planning here, some of it now resembling scar tissue outlining

  • Left: Artists Jonathas de Andrade and Aslan Cabral. Right: Artists protest against President Michel Temer at the opening of the Bienal de São Paulo. (All photos: Silas Martí)
    diary September 09, 2016

    Uncertain States

    THE STREETS HADN’T YET BEEN CLEARED OF RUBBLE, leftovers of the protests that shook the city like an earthquake the past few days, when galleries teamed up to launch nearly forty parallel exhibitions to the Thirty-Second Bienal de São Paulo, which opened this week in tumultuous fashion. Despite barricades, fires still raging in the middle of main traffic arteries, and the acrid scent of tear gas hanging in the air, dealers arranged a marathon of openings for the weekend. In town for Bienal season, artsy types from all over the world braved the chaos to catch a glimpse of exhibitions set up in

  • View of “Lucas Arruda: Deserto-Modelo as above so below,” 2016.
    picks September 06, 2016

    Lucas Arruda

    First, darkness sets in. Then, white rectangles of light slowly emerge on the walls, like windows looking out on a blank landscape. As the lights come back on, these luminous intervals start to blend in with the color of the walls until they disappear altogether. At the entrance to Lucas Arruda’s show is a new installation anchored on a cyclical experience of dawn and dusk, harking back to the ancestral idea of painting as a framed mirror of the world.

    Arruda’s world is devoid of human presence and architecture—empty like his spectral landscapes. His is a deep study of atmosphere, of nothingness.

  • Mateo López, Movimento I, 2016, cut paper, watercolor, graphite and gouache on paper, 40 x 26".
    picks May 17, 2016

    Mateo López

    As one walks into the dark gallery, Luisa Strina’s old Oscar Freire Street space now reactivated for this show, it’s hard not to look at the golden mask shimmering under a faint spotlight. Mateo López placed it there like a jewel or an ancient artifact that takes on the form of a ghostly presence, floating in space. In a way, most of the other works in this solo show, especially those in this dimly lit chamber, seem to be charged with a different energy, not just motionless sculptural fragments presented for contemplation.

    Time and memory are fused here in what López understands as an intimate