flight (at The Blanton Museum of Art)
It’s okay, Brazil—even with your World Cup loss to Germany, at least you have Artevida to look forward to this summer.
"Artevida," or "artlife," is a multi-site contemporary art exhibition taking place throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro this summer. The show, exploring the vibrant spaces where art and life intersect, weaves together Brazilian artists from the 1950s to the early 1980s, particularly those in Rio. The show works in lesser-known international artists from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Americas as well, all of whom connected with and/or influenced the Brazilian home base.
Curated by Adriano Pedrosa and Rodrigo Moura, the exhibition is organized not through artist or era but through a series of thematic threads, thus refuting a “singular, Eurocentric and encyclopedic art history,” as the exhibition describes. The four groups of artworks arecorpo (body), arquivo (archive), parque (park) and politica (politics), each division containing within it a cross-section of media, methods, eras and personal visions.
There are more than 250 works on view, a vast majority of which fall into the corpo and politico categories. Corpo explores ideas of self-portraiture, the organic line and the body in flux — featuring Lygia Clark and Japan’s avant-garde Gutai. Politico features works made in resistance to an oppressive political regime, from Brazil’s 1960s military dictatorship to Vietnam. In Arquivo, archival material from two South American artists, Fluxus member Paulo Bruscky and Argentinean artist Graciela Carnevale, are on view, while parque boasts a selection of outdoor sculptures and installations.
On sunny days, Teresita Fernández’s “Stacked Waters” really does remind us of being underwater. #blantonmuseum #teresitafernandez #stackedwaters #lookup #abstract (at The Blanton Museum of Art)
Today we’re remembering German artist Käthe Kollwitz, born on this day in 1867.
Born into a comfortable middle-class family, Käthe Kollwitz focused her art on the desperate condition of the peasants and proletariat with whom she came into contact, first through literary sources and then directly through her husband’s medical practice. She explained in an interview that these subjects interested her more for aesthetic than social reasons, but she is remembered as a socially engaged artist who protested vehemently against World War I. Here again she felt some ambivalence, as she supported her son’s decision to volunteer to join the German army against her husband’s wishes. His death in Flanders shortly after enlisting became the fulcrum upon which her later art balanced.
This powerful woodcut comes from her most famous series. About it she wrote in her diary, “Yet again I am not finished with the War series. Done the sheet ‘Parents’ over again. Suddenly it looks entirely bad to me. Far too bright and hard and distinct. Pain is totally dark.” Although she was dissatisfied with the outcome, the woodcut medium, its heavy black planes slashed here with stark white highlights, aptly conveys the sense of nearly uncontrollable parental grief at the loss of a child.
Käthe Kollwitz, Die Eltern [The Parents], plate III from Sieben Holzschnitte Zum Krieg [Seven Woodcuts on War], 1922-23, woodcut, Transfer from the General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin, 1996.