November 28, 2012 – Adele Nelson

Assistant Professor
Department of History of Art, Temple University

“Biennial as Catalyst: The Formation of a Postwar Avant-Garde and the São Paulo Bienal”

In the late 1940s–1950s, Brazilian artists in large numbers adopted geometric abstraction and formed self-consciously avant-garde groups. These artists sought to delineate a genealogy within the history of modern art that validated their artistic project. As I will demonstrate, a key incubator, forum, and model for the re-definition of modernism abstract artists in Brazil undertook was the Bienal de São Paulo (São Paulo Biennial) and, in particular, the second Bienal of 1953–1954.