Lecture: Ruptures in Brazilian Postwar Abstract Art

Grupo Ruptura (Rupture Group), established in São Paulo in 1952, is considered the first abstract art group in Brazil. Despite this vaunted place in the country’s postwar art history, it is commonly characterized as promoting a rationalist, stringent practice of geometric abstraction and unfavorably contrasted to the more intuitive and expansive approach of Rio de Janeiro–based abstract artists in what became Neo-Concretism—the movement, launched in 1959, that has received more attention than any other of Brazil’s contributions to contemporary art.

In this talk, Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Adele Nelson asserts that the crux of Grupo Ruptura’s approach entailed the conception of art as a form of knowledge and social relation more so than a claim to stylistic unity or hard-and-fast antagonism to figuration. The group’s leader, artist and critic Waldemar Cordeiro, was, along with critic Mário Pedrosa, one of abstraction’s most significant interpreters in Brazil in the decade following World War II. Nelson analyzes the parallels Cordeiro constructed between non-representational abstraction and day-to-day, material reality, and his criticisms of the private, exclusionary nature of the new modern art institutions in Brazil in relationship to his engagement with the discourses of Marxism and formalist art theory.

Adele Nelson is assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her BA in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Art Semiotics from Brown University and her MA and PhD in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first century art of Latin America, with a focus on the postwar and contemporary art of Brazil. Her research and teaching interests include transnational exchange between Latin America, Europe, and the United States; the close study of objects; and the history of modern art institutions, exhibitions, and pedagogy.

Free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Paloma Diaz

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Sid Richardson Hall (SRH), 1.313, Hackett Room
2300 RED RIVER ST., Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Arts & Humanities, World & Culture


College of Liberal Arts, College of Fine Arts, Department of Art & Art History




Free and open to the public

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