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Thiago Rocha Pitta, seascape with cianobacteria, 2017, pigmented plaster on cement, 28 × 35 7/8". From the series “Seascape with Cianobacteria,” 2016–.

Thiago Rocha Pitta

Marianne Boesky Gallery

Thiago Rocha Pitta, seascape with cianobacteria, 2017, pigmented plaster on cement, 28 × 35 7/8". From the series “Seascape with Cianobacteria,” 2016–.

For those growing fatigued by contemporary art’s ongoing invocations of the Anthropocene and its attendant aesthetics of detritus and scorched-earth urban sprawl, Thiago Rocha Pitta’s show “The First Green” offered something of a reprieve. The sculpture, video, photograph, and series of paintings in this Brazilian artist’s second solo endeavor at Marianne Boesky Gallery together formed an arcadian vision starring an unlikely subject: cyanobacteria.

Before the Dawn, 2017, a video Rocha Pitta shot at Australia’s Hamelin Pool, features a sea of rock formations known as stromatolites, or layered accretions of cyanobacterial colonies and sediment—half living, half dead. Countering the video’s meditative feel was an ominous yet absurdist sculpture further into the gallery: an atoll of moss partially engulfed by a piece of fabric that the artist hardened with concrete into a floating,

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