Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nova Arte Nova

Ok. So. I decided to go ahead and start talking about some art I saw and experienced while in Rio.

I guess I should preface this by saying that my original intention of going on this trip was to learn about the thriving commercial industry that has developed in certain parts of the country. My hope was that it would inspire my work and build connections with the industry in Baltimore. I guess I was a little in over my head and realized I needed to take baby steps to get to that point in my searching. I came to this realization pretty quickly when it was nearly impossible for me to hold a conversation with someone who was a native speaker but I tried to not let it discourage me. I realized that there were plenty of other things I wanted and probably needed to learn prior to this in-depth research I want to do. It all takes time. Sometimes you just can't rush these things and honestly..who needs to..or wants to.

So..I began to focus on learning more about the artists in Rio as well as other parts of Brazil. I begin to ask questions such as: What type of work was being made? How is art a part of daily lives? What materials are used? What type of organizations or communities are formed in the city? Where do people study art? Classes?

Through all my searching I was amazed to find some really interesting parts of the city that offer a wonderful array of art and met many practicing artists, thanks to Katie. I think by far I was impressed by two particular places. One is an area in the city called Santa Teresa and the other located in downtown Centro.

I had the opportunity to visit Santa Teresa towards the end of my trip and am very thankful that my friend Dan was willing to take me there. It is located up near Corcovado where the Christ the Redeemer statue is located. It sits up on the mountain and almost feels like you aren't actually in the city but in a small little town. All the streets wind in different directions and the houses are all distinct, really historic. Here are a few pics of some of the buildings.

They had a welcome center so I met a nice man who told me about their open studio they have each July. All the studios in the area are open to visitors and people from the city come to see the new work that these artists have been creating. Last year over 75 artists participated in the event. It is hosted by Chave Mestra. Luckily they had some leftover programs from the event this past July and I purchased on to find out more about the yearly event. It has images of the work the different artists create and I was really impressed. Unfortunately it was all in Portuguese so I wasn't able to fully translate everything. I was told however, that we were welcome to try to visit any of the studios to see if the artist might be working that day, but just to phone ahead of time. We tried a few but most weren't available. One man answered and invited us in his place. He makes lamps using thin pieces of wood. They make really intricate and beautiful designs. Here is a scan from the program that shows a few samples of his work.

I am trying really hard to make it back in time for this event! Perhaps I can meet a few different artist and interview them for my blog?

If I end up living in Rio for a year..I think I would want to live somewhere here. I saw a few signs around the area looking for room mates and the cost was reasonable so it isn't out of the question. We shall see. The only problem would be getting home at nice safely. You have to take a bus down to Centro and then switch to get to areas like Copacabana or Ipanema or Barra. Who knows though.

Now that I have mentioned Centro. Let me start by showing you a picture I took lookinf down on Centro from Santa Teresa. I love this photo!
It would be a good time to tell you about this other place located in the Banco Central do Brasil. This show called Nova Arte Nova featured young up and coming artists from all over Brazil. I was so excited to have found this show because it offered so many different artists and work that was being produced by people around my age. I had originally planned on visiting the São Paulo Biennial and after research and reading about it in the papers, I became really discouraged about the show. Everyone and everything I read about said that is was a bust. There wasn't enough funding, the building was mostly empty, and a lot of the artists weren't Brazilian. This really upset me because it was something I was really looking forward to seeing. Then Katie took me to this show Nova Arte Nova and it made up for all my prior disappointment. This bank located downtown, has three or four gallery spaces that features different art shows. This show was created in hopes of presenting the output of young artists to the public at large. Except for the São Paulo Biennial, contemporary art is generally displayed only in small galleries. These images were taken in the space. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos anywhere else in the space.

I bought a book that features all the artists that were in the show. I intend on talking about a few of them in the next entry and scan some images of their work. It is took good to not be shared with others.

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