The Modern Art Week of 1922 and Brazilian Modernism

The Modern Art Week of 1922 and Brazilian Modernism

The Modern Art Week of 1922 and Brazilian Modernism The Modern Art Week of 1922 was a cultural movement in Sao Paulo idealized and brought to life by a group of modernist artists and thinkers, who wanted to break free from the colonial ties of European influence and promote art that was uniquely Brazilian. Names like Tarsila do Amaral, Mário de Andrade, Anita Malfatti, Oswald de Andrade, among others, consciously included images of Afro-Brazilians in their work, moving away from Eurocentric art to shift the narrative of what Brazilian art could look like. The idea that Brazil was exotic and a melting pot of various racial identities was essential and necessary into modernizing society.


Art by Tarsila do Amaral 


In that same vein, Brazilian modern design, made famous by names such as Lina Bo Bardi, Sergio Rodrigues, Joaquim Tenreiro, among countless others, took inspiration from the modernist movement that was sweeping the globe in various spheres, and made it uniquely their own. Not as well-known as their American or European counterparts, these designers combined organic and geometric silhouettes with local exotic materials such as jacaranda (rosewood) and imbuia, mixing them with leather and woven fibers, resulting in a more sensual variant of modernism.


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Big names in architecture also had their share in making the Brazilian wave be felt around the world, such as Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa and Roberto Burle Marx, with the construction of Brasilia and their enormous influence in modern and brutalist architecture across the globe. Today, iconic pieces by mid century designers still inform the aesthetic of Brazilian art and design, finding new life in contemporary projects, serving as inspiration for new product design and finally amassing a cult following with design lovers all over the world.



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