Published on the occasion of the first major exhibition of contemporary Brazilian art at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, co-curated by Jennifer Lange, Bill Horrigan, and Paulo Venancio Filho, documents the exhibition and also discusses a related series of contemporary Brazilian documentary films organized by Chris Stults.
The exhibition Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, features thirty-five artists (or artistic teams), working across virtually all genres, who reflect the vibrant and diverse artistic scene currently flourishing throughout the country. Many of the artists participating in the exhibition are emerging or midcareer, and, with very few exceptions, have not been widely (or ever) exhibited in the United States. Several will be producing new work or reconfiguring existing work for site-specific installations.
The Portuguese word “cruzamentos” translates literally as “crossings” or “intersections,” but in Brazil it also refers metaphorically to the mixing of cultures and ethnicities that renders the country so distinctive. Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil extends that metaphor to contemporary art, focusing on artists whose practices and influences are as varied as the social, racial, and geographical landscapes of the country itself. The word further suggests movement and hybridity, and, in keeping with that spirit, the exhibition presents a dynamic and varied snapshot of contemporary art and culture in Brazil.
Aside from a handful of postwar Brazilian visual artists (e.g., Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, Cildo Meireles, Hélio Oiticica and Ernesto Neto) who have received relatively wide recognition abroad, the astonishingly high level of artistic production throughout Brazil over recent decades remains significantly overlooked beyond its borders. If Brazil first drew international attention in the 1960s with the rise of the loosely knit tropicália movement, its contemporary art scene in the 21st century (while mindful of that legacy) is far more dispersed and eclectic, with an expressive heterogeneity reflective of the country’s scale and of the astonishing economic and cultural transformation it has witnessed over the past twenty years.
Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil documents a full range of artistic practices—painting, site-specific installations, photography, sculpture, and moving image works. Far more conspicuously than is common in most other countries, visual artists in Brazil move freely and urgently among various mediums, and Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil reflects that almost improvisatory impulse, as it does the equally distinctive repurposing of non-traditional materials.
The five essays in the catalogue address the specifics of the Wexner Center for the Arts’ Cruzamentos exhibition and the context of its development, the background of postwar art in Brazil and of international interest in Brazilian art and culture, and the concurrent Cruzamentos film series. The foreword offers an overview of Via Brasil, the center-wide project of which the exhibition is part. Illustrated artist entries with individual bibliographies discuss each participating artist and work in the exhibition. Visual interludes throughout the book offer readers a walk through the exhibition and intriguing details of individual works.
EXHIBITION: Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio: 1 February 2014 – 20 April 2014
Edited by Jennifer Lange, Bill Horrigan, and Paulo Venancio Filho. Essays by Bill Horrigan, Paulo Venancio Filho, Jennifer Lange, Chris Stults, and Christiana Tejo; artist entries by Bill Horrigan, Jennifer Lange, Cheryl-Lynn May, Chris Stults, and Denise Carvalho and Ann Bremner; foreword by Sherri Geldin.
Jennifer Lange, co-curator of Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, is curator of the Film/Video Studio program at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Bill Horrigan, co-curator of Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, is curator at large at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Chris Stults is associate curator of film/video at the Wexner Center for the Arts and curator of the film series Curzamentos: Contemporary Brazilian Documentary.
Cheryl-Lynn May is curatorial assistant at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Sherri Geldin is director of the Wexner Center.
Paulo Venancio Filho, co-curator of Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, is full professor at the School of Fine Arts/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and an independent curator.
Christiana Tejo is an independent Brazilian curator and former director of Museu de Arte Moderna Aloíso Magalhães in Recife.
Denise Carvalho, an independent curator from Brazil now based in the US, serves as the Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Wexner Center’s Via Brasil project.
Ann Bremner is the Wexner Center’s editor for special projects.