Chelsea Summer Shows: Brazil comes to the Big Apple - Art Collector

Erika Verzutti, Brasilia Teatro (Brasilia Theater), 2014. Bronze and acrylic, 50 x 40 x 29 cm. Photo: Thomas Strub, Zurich. Courtesy: the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

By Jess Holburn

Pacing oneself by moving from large-scale group shows to the smaller group shows makes the art scene in Chelsea all the more easy to digest in one hit. At Chelsea gallery Luhring Augustine this month, you’ll find Empty House Casa Vazia, a cross-generational sculpture exhibition of Brazilian artists organized by Lucrecia Zappi and Donald Johnson Montenegro. It includes works by Waltercio Caldas, Lygia Clark, Raymundo Colares, Adriano Costa, Alexandre da Cunha, Amílcar de Castro, Willys de Castro, Antonio Dias, Marcius Galan, Fernanda Gomes, Jac Leirner, Rodrigo Matheus, Paulo Monteiro, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Mira Schendel, Tunga, and Erika Verzutti.

Caldas is a widely recognised artist, with work in numerous public and private collections including MoMA, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art and The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. Gomes also has several wooden sculptures on show, yet another major artist included in many a Biennale (Venice, Istanbul, São Paulo and Sydney) and her work is present in the collection of Tate Modern, Miami Art Museum, Fundación/Colección Jumex, Vancouver Art Gallery, Centre Georges Pompidou and Museu Serralves, where she created a permanent sculpture in the museum's park. She also appears in the collections of Museu da Pampulha and Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.

Leirner’s sculptural installation piece Todos os cem (All the One Hundreds) is still as striking as it was back in 1992, an elegantly executed commentary on consumer culture, continuing the legacy of Arte Povera and Minimalism, while also referencing Brazilian Constructivism. Leirner is represented by White Cube gallery and Galeria Fortes Vilaça. Leirner represented Brazil at the 47th Venice Biennale of 1997 and has held solo exhibitions at Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderna; Museo Tamayo, Mexico; Yale School of Art; Centre d’Art de Saint Nazaire, France; Miami Art Museum; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo and the Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva. Her work resides in the collections of MoMA and The Whitney, among others. The tactile works by Monteiro also give the impression of artefacts, intimate in size yet laden with notions of history and material trauma. MoMA acquired twelve of Monteiro’s artworks in 2014.

Tunga is one of Brazil’s leading mixed media artists of his generation. Born in 1952 in Palmares, his work is also represented in permanent collections of major museums and institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Moderna Museet, in Stockholm. In September 2012 a major permanent pavilion dedicated to Tunga’s work opened at the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim in Brumadinho, Brazil. Schendel’s tangled soft sculpture made of rice paper (1965-1966) is a perfect counterpoint to the sharp edged steel sculptures and crude bronze and lead pieces. The prolific Schendel, with works that filled 14 rooms at a Tate Modern Retrospective last year, is considered one of the most significant Brazilian artists of the 20h century. Verzutti’s work is another stand out at this show, her bronze sculpture Brasilia Teatro (Brasilia Theater) of 2014 is an eroticized and fetishised object of archeological and ethnographic semblance.

Gabriel Hartley and Denise Kupferschmidt, Installation view, Foxy Production, New York, 2015. Photo: Mark Woods

And a smaller yet noteworthy show closing out this week is Foxy Production’s two-person exhibition this month, comprising new works by Gabriel Hartley and Denise Kupferschmidt. It includes sculpture, drawings and wall paintings by Kupferschmidt and a series of oil and spray paintings by Hartley. Upon walking into the room one might assuming it is the work of one artist, such is the synergy between the two. Both artists use dynamic lines to produce an intermediate visual space that lies somewhere between pattern and figuration, between flat surfaces and dimensionality.

Kupferschmidt is also currently in a group show at Koenig & Clinton gallery on West 19th and she had a solo this year at Halsey McKay Gallery. She was listed in the 100 Artists to Watch of
Modern Painters magazine in 2012.

Luhring Augustine, Chelsea, Empty House Casa Vazia, 27 June – 28 August 2015

Foxy Production, Chelsea, Gabriel Hartley & Denise Kupferschmidt, 16 July – 14 August, 2015

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