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Brazil, Latin America: The World

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In 1978 the first and only Bienal Latino-Americana de São Paulo brought tensions between the national, the continental and the normative International into sharp relief. Two years later the critics Aracy Amaral and Frederico Morais presented proposals for the permanent transformation of the Bienal Internacional de São Paulo into a Latin American biennial. Their ideas remained unrealised, and the historiographical register overwhelmingly consigns the I Bienal Latino-Americana to failure. This article does not seek to contest that verdict but rather to establish how this biennial arose from wider debates that both preceded and followed it, and how it relates to the reception and influence of Latin Americanist thought on the part of Brazilian critics and artists. It retrieves a history of the São Paulo biennial's engagement with the idea of Latin American art as a significant dimension of that institution's ill-remembered critical history, and considers how ideas in circulation at that time might continue to inform the São Paulo biennial's still inconsistent and ambivalent relation to Latin America.
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Keywords: Aracy Amaral; Bienal Internacional de São Paulo; Brazilian art; Etsedron; Frederico Morais; Latin America; Mercosul; Mito e Magia; Mitos Vadios; biennial

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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