New York

“Art from Brazil in New York”

Twenty-five years ago, on the occasion of the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark international exhibition “Information,” Cildo Meireles declared “I am here in this exhibition to defend neither a career nor any nationality,” a sentiment echoed by his fellow artist Hélio Oiticica, who proclaimed “I am not here representing Brazil, or representing anything else.” Today these statements evoke a bygone era of internationalism: the reduction of artistic substance to the trope of “information” implied a logic of universal equivalence in the esthetic realm that promised an easy traversal of political and cultural borders. To be seen as representing some particular collectivity was to be doomed to marginalization. Naturally this was exactly what happened. Neither Meireles’ nor Oiticica’s work would be exhibited again in New York until1988, and then only in exhibitions that straightforwardly declared

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