The course ARH 381: Contemporary Brazilian Art serves as a curatorial practicum in conjunction with the research and planning for Social Fabric: Art and Activism in Contemporary Brazil, an exhibition co-organized by Adele Nelson and MacKenzie Stevens and scheduled for Fall 2021 at the Visual Arts Center. The exhibition seeks to understand how artists are relating to, reflecting on, and resisting the democratic erosion underway in Brazil.
Each of the ten members of the seminar, all MA and PhD students in art history, have researched one of the emerging and mid-career artists on the working artist list for the exhibition, immersed themselves in Brazilian history and art history, and debated how to understand, and to visualize in an exhibition format and possible accompanying publication, the intersections between art created in the last decade plus and recent events and historical conditions in Brazil.
The display in the Fieldwork Projects gallery presents three distinct interpretative modalities: conceptual mapping, artistic monograph, and chronology. As a whole, the gallery functions as an experimental presentation of the students’ developing thinking and research. How could one create an illustrated chronology for the exhibition that does not frame the artists and their works in a historicist or reductive manner? How to create a chronology that does not sever current political and societal events from longer histories, including the conquest, slavery, and the military dictatorship and their afterlives? Could mapping related concerns among the artists provide an alternative approach? How can such a mapping account for historical events?
This exhibition is organized by Adele Nelson, Art History faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.
Martha Scott Burton
Jana La Brasca