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Guy Brett: critical closeness


Guy Brett: critical closeness

Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro

25 November 2017 – 25 March 2018

Curator: Paulo Venancio Filho, with the collaboration of Luciano Figueiredo

This exhibition of works from the collections at MAM-Rio pays tribute and much deserved recognition to the British curator and art critic Guy Brett for his decades-long intellectual devotion to and regard for Brazilian art. A rare or, indeed, unique case of a critic who has engaged more with the art of a foreign country than his own, Brett was one of the first to acknowledge the value of art produced outside the confines of Europe and the United States. At a time when Brazilian modern art was virtually unknown on the international scene, he wrote about, promoted, and showed genuine admiration for a group of artists whose work he first came into contact with in the early 1960s: Sérgio Camargo, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, and Mira Schendel. Before these artists had gained any international recognition, Brett was able to perceive and appreciate the originality and inventiveness of what they were doing. For a further 40 years, he consistently kept abreast of developments in Brazilian art – both in person and in prolific correspondence – proving a steadfast interlocutor and ally of at least three generations of Brazilian artists.

This exhibition is our homage to Guy Brett: to his defining role in modern and contemporary Brazilian art and the artists he worked alongside. Suffice it to think of the parallels between the artists represented here, all from the MAM-Rio collection, and his trajectory as a critic. But most of all, this exhibition is an opportunity to show a larger audience Brett’s truly pivotal importance to the development of Brazilian modern and contemporary art.