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Tarsila do Amaral. City (The Street), 1929. Collection of Bolsa de Art. © Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila do Amaral. Abaporu, 1928. Oil on canvas. Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires-Constantini Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina. © Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila do Amaral. Postcard, 1929. Private collection, Rio de Janeiro. © Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila do Amaral. Setting Sun, 1929. Private Collection. © Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
February 11?June 3, 2018


New York, NY

From February 11 to June 3 of 2018, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City presents the first solo exhibition in the US focused on the work by Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil, 1886–1973), a central figure in Brazilian modernism. The exhibition explores Do Amaral's production during the 1920s and consists of approximately 120 works, including paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and photographs from collections in the US, Latin America, and Europe. "Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil" is an inquiry by the MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago performed by Luis Pérez-Oramas, former Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art at the MoMa, and Stephanie D'Alessandro, former Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of International Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago; with Karen Grimson, Curatorial Assistant of MoMA's Department of Drawings and Prints. The exhibition was previously shown at the Art Institute of Chicago from October 8, 2017 to January 7, 2018.

"Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil" explores the revolutionary vision of an artist who had a defying impact on the modernist movement in Brazil and on the generations of Brazilian artists that followed. The show looks at Do Amaral's work from her early production in Paris to her emblematic modernist paintings, produced after her return to Brazil, and concluding with the socially conscious monumental pieces that she created in the early 1930s. The exhibition centers on an encounter between three emblematic paintings: A Negra (Black Woman, 1923), Abaporu (1928), and Antropofagia (Anthropophagy, 1929), a group of transformational series of works that were last shown together in the US in the 1933 MoMA exhibition titled "Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century."

Tarsila do Amaral did not attend the Modern Art Week festival held in São Paulo in February of 1922. Upon Do Amaral's return to Brazil in June of 1922, fellow artist and friend, Anita Malfatti, introduced her to the main group behind the modernist movement: poets Mário de Andrade, Paulo Menotti del Picchia, and Oswald de Andrade—who would later become her partner. Together, they formed the Grupo dos Cinco (Group of Five), an energetic and restless collective that discussed poetry and the state of art in Brazil. Towards the end of that year, Do Amaral returned to Paris, where De Andrade joined her.

Abaporu is one of the central works in the exhibition. Painted for De Andrade in 1928, the painting depicts an elongated figure with a blooming cactus. The title combines two words from the Tupi-Guarani language: aba (man) and poru (eater of human flesh). The work inspired De Andrade to write the "Anthropophagy Manifesto." Published in May of 1928, it is the symbol of a transformative artistic movement that envisioned a Brazilian culture derived from the artistic "cannibalism" of external influences.

During the 1960s and 1970s, a younger generation of young Brazilian artists (including Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica), followed by the artists associated with the Tropocália movement (like musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil), would rediscover anthropophagy and the art by Tarsila do Amaral.




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