Arthur Bispo do Rosario

Jeu de Paume

Arthur Bispo do Rosario (1909?–89) refused to call himself an artist. Not out of modesty, but because he had loftier ambitions. Bispo claimed to have been entrusted by seven blue angels and Christ himself with the momentous task of inventorying everything worth redeeming on the impending Day of Judgment. He was diagnosed a paranoid-schizophrenic in 1938 and carried out his divine mission in isolation, confined for life to a psychiatric clinic in Rio de Janeiro. Preparing the material chosen for salvation for the time it would be presented before God, Bispo fashioned ceremonial garments, sculptural models of everything from boats and cars to hand tools and a boxing ring; embroidered banners; and showcased assemblages with an omnifarious array of materials and objects ranging from combs, plastic bottles, and rubber boots to model sailboats and planets and beauty-queen regalia.


to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.