MUSEU DE ARTE DE SĂO PAULO - Assis Chateaubriand

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Teresinha Soares, Morra usando as legítimas alpargatas [Die Wearing the Legitimate Espadrille] (from the series Vietnam) 1968, artist’s collection, Belo Horizonte.

QUEM TEM MEDO DE TERESINHA SOARES?

MASP PRESENTS A RETROSPECTIVE OF TERESINHA SOARES, A PIONEER IN THE THEMATICS OF FEMALE SEXUALITY

Inaugurating a thematic axis about sexuality, to include a vast programming of exhibitions, starting on April 27 MASP is presenting the exhibition Quem tem medo de Teresinha Soares? [Who’s Afraid of Teresinha Soares?], with more than 50 artworks by Teresinha Soares (Araxá, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1927), from her intensely productive period spanning from 1965 to 1976. This will be the first extensive overview of Soares’s production ever held in a museum, in Brazil or abroad, and will also be her first large solo show in more than 40 years. The title of the show alludes to the celebrated play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, and refers to the behavioral taboos that the work of Teresinha Soares confronts by being counterposed to the machismo of both society and the art world.

Quem tem medo de Teresinha Soares? will occupy the museum’s 2nd sublevel with paintings, drawings, prints, box-objects, reliefs and installations, as well as photographic documentation about the artist’s pioneering happenings and performances. The show will shed light on the little-known production of one of the most questioning and controversial Brazilian artists of the 1960s, who in that period was widely reported in the mass media. A powerful and emancipated personality, a writer and defender of women’s rights, Soares rounds out her biography by being the first woman ever elected to the city council of the city of her birth, as well as a beauty pageant winner, a public worker and a professor.

A pioneering artist in regard to the treatment of themes of gender, such as female sexual liberation, violence against women, motherhood and prostitution, Soares also made works that dealt with political issues, as in the series of paintings Vietnã [Vietnam] (1968), in which she presents an original and irreverent approach to the theme. The representation of the body is one of the most recurrent motifs in the artist’s oeuvre, encompassing a range of aspects spanning from eroticism and sex to birth, death, and the relationship with nature.

In the work EurĂłtica [Eurotic] (1970), consisting of an album of silkscreen prints made based on line drawings and printed on differently colored sheets of paper, a variety of sexual positions is configured on the basis of combinations of bodies and different libidinous interactions. Based on those erotic drawings, Soares developed Corpo a corpo in cor-pus meus [Body to Body in Colour-Pus of Mine] (1971), her first large installation, which represents a milestone in her career. Open to participation by the spectator, this artwork is composed of four modules of different heights, made of white-painted wood, like a raised stage in a sinuous shape that occupies 24 square meters of space. On opening day, a performance will be held to inaugurate the work, just like the one Soares carried out in the Grand Salon of the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, in 1970, with the participation of dancers and the narration of a text recorded by her.

Although it is possible to relate Soare’s work with some trends from the 1960s, such as global pop art, nouveau rĂ©alisme and the Brazilian new-objectivity movement, the artist always resorted to an artistic language that was both spontaneous and personal. Even today, her work is little-known to the Brazilian public at large, despite that Soares participated actively in the art circuit for ten years, holding exhibitions in galleries, salons and biennials. Currently, she has been increasingly participating in international exhibitions that contextualize her in the ambit of the new figuration movement of the 1960s, as well as in political art: The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop (Tate Modern, London, 2015), Arte Vida (Rio de Janeiro, 2014) and Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2017).

For the exhibition’s curator Rodrigo Moura, “today, as her work is beginning to garner more recognition both in Brazil and abroad, an exhibition that takes a close look at her career and analyzes the evolution of her artistic language contributes not only to this recognition, but also toward understanding the mechanisms and the methodologies that informed a feminist practice in the Brazilian context of that period.” Adriano Pedrosa, MASP’s artistic director, comments on the show’s relevance: “it is a privilege for MASP to present the first general overview of the artist’s oeuvre. The museum thus fulfills a crucial role: that of presenting to the public at large a work which should be considered and reinscribed in the recent history of Brazilian art.”

Quem tem medo de Teresinha Soares? is being held in the context of the museum’s programming for 2017 dedicated to the thematics of sexuality. Around the show HistĂłrias da sexualidade [Histories of Sexuality] which will feature artworks from different periods and collections, there will also be a number of monographic exhibitions by Brazilian and international artists whose works raise questions about corporeality, desire, sensuality, eroticism, feminism, questions of gender, and other issues. This exhibition by Teresinha Soares, will be followed by solo shows featuring the work, respectively, of Wanda Pimentel, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Miguel Rio Branco, Guerrilla Girls, Pedro Correia de AraĂșjo and Tunga.

CATALOG

Simultaneously with the organization of the exhibition, MASP is editing the first large monographic catalog of the artist (R$150, 272 pp.), to be released at the exhibition’s opening. The book has been edited by Adriano Pedrosa and Rodrigo Moura and contains more than 200 illustrations of works by Teresinha Soares, period documents and works by other artists, along with previously unpublished texts by curators of the exhibition, the artist herself and by four invited curators. The authors analyze Soares’s pioneering work and contextualize it alongside the production of other artists who were working in Brazil and internationally in the same period.

The catalog consists of the following texts: “Quem tem medo de Teresinha Soares?” by Rodrigo Moura; “A arte erĂłtica singular de Teresinha Soares” [The Singular Erotic Art of Teresinha Soares], by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill; “Realista e erĂłtica, minha arte Ă© como a cruz para o capeta” [Realistic and Erotic, My Art Is Like the Cross Is to the Devil], by Frederico Morais; “O corpo na poĂ©tica de Teresinha Soares” [The Body in the Poetics of Teresinha Soares], by MarĂ­lia AndrĂ©s Ribeiro; “’AcontecĂȘncias’: devir-mulher nos jornais de Teresinha Soares” [”Trends”: Becoming-a-Woman in the Journals of Teresinha Soares] by Camila Bechelany; “Um pop pantagruĂ©lico: a ‘arte erĂłtica de contestação’ de Teresinha Soares” [A Pantagruelian Pop: Teresinha Soares’s “Erotic Art of Questioning”], by Sofia Gotti; as well as an interview given by Teresinha Soares to Rodrigo Moura and Camila Bechelany and the essays by Teresinha Soares, “Amo SĂŁo Paulo” [I Love SĂŁo Paulo] (1968), “Cor-pus meus versus o mar” [My Color/Corpus Versus the Sea] (1971) and “O impossĂ­vel acontece” [The Impossible Happens] (1973).

Quem tem medo de Teresinha Soares? is curated by Rodrigo Moura, adjunct curator of Brazilian art of MASP, and Camila Bechelany, assistant curator of MASP. Exhibition design by METRO Arquitetos Associados.

Mauro Restiffe, Avenida Paulista #6, TrĂȘs Marias, 2017, courtesy of the artist

AVENIDA PAULISTA

This exhibition turns MASP’s attention to its surroundings, taking Avenida Paulista not only as the place where it stands, but also as an object of consideration and reflection. This is significant in the museum’s 70th anniversary (inaugurated in 1947, it was then centrally located at Rua 7 de Abril, only to be transferred to this building in 1968): the display represents a new regard to this iconic place in SĂŁo Paulo, being at once one of the city’s postcards, as well as stage to clashes and disputes of different nature.

What are the themes passing through this avenue that has 2,800 meters and more than 120 years of history? Social and economic contrasts, financial capital and informal trade, symbolic capital and cultural institutions, political demonstrations and matters of sexuality (home to one of the world’s biggest LGBT pride parades). As a symbol of SĂŁo Paulo, Avenida Paulista also bears the contradictions, frictions, and tensions of a rich, complex, unequal city. 

The exhibition is split in two major segments. The first one, on the left and back walls of the first floor gallery, comprises representations of the avenue, with photographs, documents, paintings, records of performing actions, objects, and historical posters of 38 authors, ranging from 1891 to 2016, organized chronologically. The second segment is composed by14 new projects commissioned for the exhibition, which occupy the entrance hall, the center, and the right part of the first floor gallery (AndrĂ© Komatsu, Cinthia Marcelle, Graziela Kunsch, IbĂŁ Huni Kuin with Bane and Mana Huni Kuin, Lais Myrrha, Marcelo Cidade, Mauro Restiffe, and Rochelle Costi with Renato Firmino), the basement gallery (Daniel de Paula), the sub-basement video room (Luiz Roque), the Free Span (Marcius Galan), and an intervention on the second floor gallery (Dora Longo Bahia), as well as unrealized projects by Ana Dias Batista and Renata Lucas which are reproduced in the exhibition’s catalogue.

As part of Avenida Paulista, there is a weekly program comprising 13 workshops and 8 movie screenings. The workshops—conducted by theatre groups, collectives, architects, and artists—take the avenue as stage and creative space, thus activating its history and memory spaces. The movie screenings, organized by the artist Dora Longo Bahia along with the study group Depois do Fim da Arte, take place in the museum’s small auditorium on the basement, and ponder about the artist’s place in the city.

It is important to think of this exhibition as an unfolding of the architectural and urbanistic vocation inherent to this building idealized by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), always taking into consideration its essential features— transparency, permeability, copious use of glass, free plans, and the suspension of a major concrete volume—, thus allowing the gaze and the city to pass through the museum. In this sense, to think about MASP means to lean over the city’s issues and, most importantly, the place where it is located since 1968.

ARTISTS

3NÓS3, Agostinho Batista de Freitas, Ana Dias Batista, AndrĂ© Komatsu, AntĂŽnio Moraes, Carlos Fadon, CIA de Foto, Cildo Meireles, Cinthia Marcelle, ClĂĄudia Andujar, Cristiano Mascaro, Daniel de Paula, Dora Longo Bahia, DulcinĂ©ia Aparecida Rocha, Edu Garcia, Eduardo Castanho, Enzo Ferrara, Ferreira Gullar, Graziela Kunsch, Guilherme Gaensly, Hans Gunter Flieg, IbĂŁ Huni Kuin com Bane e Mana Huni Kuin, Ivan Grilo, Ivo Justino, Juan PĂ©rez Agirregoikoa, Juca Martins, Jules Martin, Kleide Teixeira, Lais Myrrha, Lina Bo Bardi, Luis Carlos Santos, Luiz Hossaka, Luiz Paulo Baravelli, Luiz Roque, Marcelo Cidade, MĂĄrcia Alves, Marcius Galan, Maria Luiza Martinelli, MaurĂ­cio Simonetti, Mauro Restiffe, Maximiliano Scola, Mick Carnicelli, Milton Cruz, Nair Benedicto, Nicolau Leite, Renata Lucas Roberto Winter, Rochelle Costi with Renato Firmino, SĂ©rgio Bertoni, Sonia Guggisberg, Thomaz Farkas, unknown artists, Werner Haberkor and William Zadig

CURATORSHIP Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director, and Tomås Toledo, curator; with Camila Bechelany, Luiza Proença, Fernando Oliva, curators, MASP, and Amilton Mattos, Universidade Federal do Acre

PICTURE GALLERY IN TRANSFORMATION

The return of Lina Bo Bardi’s radical crystal easels to the display of the collection presents a selection of 119 artworks drawn from the museum’s diverse holdings, spanning from the 4th century BC to 2008. The easels were first presented at the opening of the museum’s current venue in 1968, and withdrawn in 1996.

The return of the easels is not a fetishistic or nostalgic gesture in regard to what has become an iconic exhibition display device, but should rather be understood as part of a programmatic revision of Bo Bardi’s spatial and conceptual contributions to museum practice. The political dimension of her proposals is suggested by  the open, transparent, fluid, and permeable picture gallery, which offers multiple possibilities for access and reading, eliminates hierarchies and predetermined paths, and challenges canonical art-historical narratives. The gesture of taking the paintings off the wall and placing them on the easels implies their desacralization, rendering them more familiar to the public. Moreover, the placement of the labels on their backs allows for an initial direct encounter with the work, free from an interpretive framework. In this context, the museum experience becomes more human, plural, and democratic

In the original configuration of the easels, Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi organized the works by artistic schools or regions. Now they will be placed in strict chronological order, laid out in a meandering path. This organization does not coincide with the chronology of art history, with its schools and movements, nor does it oblige the public to follow its course. The spatial transparency of the open floor plan and the easels invites visitors to construct their own path, enabling unexpected juxtapositions and dialogues between Asian, African, Brazilian, and European art. Furthermore, Picture Gallery in Transformation is a semi-permanent collection display, as it will remain open to frequent changes, adjustments and modifications, already planned for early 2016. In this sense, the exhibition avoids the typical ossification and sedimentation of permanent collection displays.

The exhibition’s focus on figurative art reflects the history of the collection and the interests of Bo Bardi and Bardi, who resisted the hegemony of the abstract tradition in Brazil in the 1940s and 1950s. They were both wary of abstraction’s potentially depoliticizing effects, in the context of the promotion of geometric abstraction by the US through its Good Neighbor policy during the Cold War. The current display also includes works by artists traditionally considered outside of the Brazilian art-historical canon – such as Agostinho Batista de Freitas, Djanira, JosĂ© AntĂŽnio da Silva, and Maria Auxiliadora – highlighting MASP’s commitment to diversity and multiplicity. The only contemporary work in the display, Marcelo Cidade’s Tempo suspenso de um estado provisĂłrio[Suspended Time of a Provisory State], 2008, turns the glass easel into an object of institutional reflection. Its presence also signals the museum’s desire to resume its dialogue with contemporary art in the picture gallery.