Via Brasil is the Wexner Center's interdisciplinary, multiyear initiative focusing on the vibrant culture of Brazil, made possible by a $782,000 grant awarded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Wexner Center has developed an integrated array of programs spanning its exhibition, film/video, and education departments, along with complementary programming from our performing arts department, to advance understanding and appreciation of contemporary art in Brazil. The initiative is also accompanied by a website (www.wexarts.org/viabrasil) that provides a holistic look at not just the Via Brasil project itself, but other related content including news, recipes, cultural facts, photo galleries, and more, all working to provide a context and deeper experience with the contemporary art and culture of Brazil.
Since 2011, center curators and educators have worked with Brazilian artists, curators, and critics, as well as with Ohio State colleagues whose teaching or research connects with Brazilian culture. The programs described below are informed by almost three years of research and travel by Wexner Center curators to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Belo Horizonte, and points beyond. Via Brasil programming began in earnest in 2012 with visits from filmmakers such as Nelson Pereria dos Santos, Walter Salles, Kleber Mendonça Filho, and other related film screenings.
Mauro Vieira, Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, notes, “Via Brasil, a truly remarkable project, is not just a groundbreaking exploration of contemporary Brazilian art. It is a generous and thoughtful exchange of ideas and values that approaches the Brazilian culture with seriousness and depth, while avoiding clichés. Moreover, as part of Ohio State University, the Wexner Center has a unique opportunity to provide young people with a greater understanding of Brazil and its vital role in the world today."
Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin says, “Thanks to the generous investment of the Mellon Foundation, the Wexner Center has been able to aim an in-depth yet wide-focus lens at the arts and culture of Brazil across diverse creative disciplines. At the same time and true to our mission, we have had the opportunity to undertake fresh research in our exploration of artists both established and emerging, while also making possible the creation of new work. The admittedly ambitious challenge to bring new perspectives to the vibrant artistry of this rising global force inspired the Wex team to undertake a robust and intensely collaborative approach that has proved immensely productive and rewarding.”
The center’s in-depth inquiry into contemporary Brazilian visual culture has culminated in:
- Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, a substantial four-gallery exhibition (with accompanying catalogue) on view at the center in early 2014. This will be the largest exhibition of contemporary Brazilian to have been exhibited in North America and will be accompanied by an academic symposium March 26 and 27, 2014. The exhibition will be on view from February 1 to April 20, 2014.
- Cruzamentos: Contemporary Brazilian Documentary, a presentation of more than 30 contemporary Brazilian documentaries rarely seen in North America, screening January through April, 2014. The series will feature filmmaker visits, including a rare one from the legendary Eduardo Couthino.
- A wide array of performances from leading Brazilian dance companies and musicians representative of the diversity of contemporary performing arts in Brazil.
- A wealth of educational programming, including a symposium, gallery talks, and events designed to engage students, families, and teens.
- The first English-language translation of essays by influential film critic, professor, and historian Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes, to be published in late 2014. A symposium surrounding his work will be held in fall of 2014.
- A graduate-level history of art seminar related closely to the exhibition’s content, led by postdoctoral fellow Denise Carvalho.