Friday, February 16, 2007

The City Is Their Canvas

It seems like we have a weekly country theme and this week's turn is all things Brazil!

Hot off the Gen Art presses:

If you can't jet set to South America, head over to the Ruas de Sao Paulo: A Survey of Brazilian Street Art

Beginning on February 17th, you can check out Ruas de Sao Paulo, a landmark exhibition of street and mural art from eight contemporary Brazilian artists at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York. (This is the first time most of these artists are showing in the United States—many of them have never left Brazil.)

The exhibition was inspired by Jonathan LeVine's visit to the art-filled streets of Sao Paulo, where he met Baixo and Mariana Ribeiro, owners of Choque Cultural Gallery. The group had a lot of "good conversations about life, music, art and artists," and as a result, decided to collaborate on Ruas de Sao Paulo."It was easy to choose a group that synthesized the true energy of Brazilian street art for this exhibition," explains Baxio."South America is so rich with popular art, which is recognized by common people, but despised by the scholar. Street art explores this social issue. These artists choose to touch anyone rather than to be understood by a few people."

The raw, uninhibited graffiti scene captured by Ruas de Sao Paulo might bring you back to pre-Giuliani New York, when urban artists transformed the city into a reflection of contemporary political and social issues. (Remnants of this movement can still be seen on your way to Queens on the 7 train.) Our favorite artist in the show, Fefe, creates monsters from letters cut out of street posters.

The Ribeiros hope that New York will embrace this new generation of contemporary art that is brewing in Sao Paulo. As Baxio explains: "The public aspects of graffiti art puts the artists in contact with everyday people, who are their simplest critics—it's very important for the artists to have that dialogue." We couldn't agree more. Go to the exhibition and let us know what you think.

-Barbara Roan

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