From 8 March to 26 May 2013 GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo is pleased to host POP, REALISMS AND POLITICS. Brazil – Argentina, 1960s.
Curated by Paulo Herkenhoff and Rodrigo Alonso, the exhibition presents and analyses the artistic production of Brazil and Argentina during the Sixties, highlighting the artists’ creativity and originality, as well as the challenges they faced in a decade of profound social changes.
GAMeC is the third of the four venues of the exhibition, which was hosted – with exhibition projects conceived for each institution – at Fundación PROA in Buenos Aires and Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba in 2012. It will then be staged at MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, concluding the exhibition itinerary.
The exhibition title contains a reference to the artistic movements that inspired the works on show and to the topics that are examined, first of all, English and American Pop Art and French Nouveau Réalisme, as well as Situationism, the Argentine Otra Figuración movement, and the Brazilian Nova Objetividade and Tropicália movements.
The exhibition brings together a rich group of works based on their shared historical background. In fact, the works show many similarities, starting with their subjects: mass consumerism, advertising, design, fashion, and, above all, political resistance.
This is a dynamic, powerful and unconventional art, the mirror of two nations that faced serious social problems such as poverty, poor living conditions, power struggles, military pressures and internal migration. These works, which often sparked controversy and scandal, eschewed the conventions of art disciplines, disregarding forms with the aim of engaging the viewer.
In the show, the icons of American Pop Art find an answer in the personal vision of this movement proposed by South American artists, arising from the need to act and experiment from the perspective of their own backgrounds, free of the pressures of a discipline and the requirements of a market.
In those years, the artists understood that freedom of expression and the ability to grasp and co-opt the mass media were essential to ensure the development of culture and their own art. Unlike their American counterparts, however, the South American artists embraced a real mass media art that set out to inhabit them, operating directly on their inner workings, upsetting and violating them.
Happening, parades, urban interventions: participation art left institutional spaces behind to take place in daily life and the artists became the protagonists of a real revolution in fashion, behaviour and social interaction.
This challenge entailed a number of risks during a military dictatorship that tightly controlled the public circulation of information. We can’t forget that, in the Sixties, South America experienced specific sets of circumstances related to the Cold War: ideological confrontations, social movements, armed struggles and resistance to military regimes, state terrorism.
The works on show at GAMeC offer a unique glimpse of this ‘art of contradictions’: the exhibition includes films, paintings, installations, drawings, photographs and documents from international museums and private collections. There are around 140 works by important Brazilian and Argentine artists who shattered existing structures and embraced political commitments, creating images that have proven pivotal to twentieth-century art.
These include works by Antonio Berni, Delia Cancela, Raymundo Colares, Eduardo Costa, Jorge de la Vega, Antonio Dias, Rubens Gerchman, Carmela Gross, Roberto Jacoby, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marta Minujín, Cildo Meireles, Pablo Menicucci, Luis Felipe Noé, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Evandro Teixeira, Claudio Tozzi.
Curated by: Paulo Herkenhoff and Rodrigo Alonso
Opening: Thursday 7 March 2013, at 6:30 p.m.