Modernisms News VI: Workshop Report
Workshop: “Modernismos: conceitos – contextos – circulações”
By Renan Varolli
Thomas Kirchner, Lena Bader and Jens Baumgarten invited the group to a wrap-up of the “Modernisms” workweek, revisiting project presentations and thematic discussions as well as networking options made possible by the Transregional Academy. Participants and steering group members proposed ideas for upcoming academies, such as an extended program and more visits to museums and discussions on-site. By the end of the debate, Jens Baumgarten briefed the group about the workshop “Modernismos: conceitos – contextos – circulações” (“Modernisms: concepts – contexts – circulations”), an event organized jointly with the Goethe-Institut in São Paulo and held at Vila Itororó on Saturday, July 23, 2016.
Vila Itororó is a set of buildings located at the neighborhood of Bixiga in the downtown area of São Paulo. According to Benjamin Seroussi, curator of the complex and former associate curator at the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, part of the current architecture remounts nineteenth-century eclecticism. The set has several damages, which has fostered heated debates about their restoration and use since the 1970s, particularly because there were about 200 people living in the place. Prominent Brazilian thinkers like the geographer Aziz Ab’Saber, the architect Flávio Império and the historian Ulpiano Bezerra de Meneses spoke out against the dislodgment of Vila Itororó’s inhabitants and the renovation of the complex and creation of a cultural center.
The workshop openend with a first panel on the redefinition of the curatorship’s role in contemporary society, formed by Tadeu Chiarelli, Helouise Costa and hosted by Ana Magalhães. These three scholars heavily defined the last years of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (MAC-USP) and twenty-first-century Brazilian art. Ana Hoffmann, head of the Department of Art History at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), mediated the following panel, hosting Ivo Mesquita and Valeria Piccoli, respectively, former technical director and current chief curator of the Pinacotheca of the State of São Paulo, besides Vinicius Spricigo, responsible for Arts Administration and Curatorship discipline at UNIFESP. Valeria Piccoli’s account on curatorship processes of the “Landscape in the Americas” (Paisagem nas Américas) revealed the ways of treating Canadian native material cultures in their own country. The third and concluding panel discussed postcolonial exoticism. Vinicius Spricigo hosted the debate between the President of the Brazilian Committee of Art History (CBHA), Claudia Valladão de Mattos Avolese (University of Campinas – UNICAMP), the anthropologist Alex Flynn and Eduardo Dimitrov (University of Brasília – UnB). Alex Flynn presented the notion of Ameridian perspectivism, a concept developed by Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, facing the challenges of multiple narratives as tasks of today’s art historians, which was also commented by Claudia Valladão de Mattos Avolese.
In the evening, the “Modernisms” participants and the steering group were invited to the Goethe-Institute in São Paulo. It was a festive night that concluded an unforgettable week. During the next days, there will be posts summarizing topics that emerged during the project presentations and thematic sessions of the Transregional Academy in São Paulo. Stay tuned!