“Brasilia: The Art of Democracy”: FGV launches exhibition on federal capital in Rio de Janeiro

Exhibition features more than 150 works by 80 contemporary artists.
05 四月 2024
“Brasilia: The Art of Democracy”: FGV launches exhibition on federal capital in Rio de Janeiro

FGV Art, Fundação Getulio Vargas’ experimental and artistic research forum, is launching its second exhibition, titled Brasilia: The Art of Democracy, curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, on Friday, April 12, 2024, at 6 p.m., in FGV’s main building in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition will be open to the public until July 14, 2024.

“The concept for this exhibition spans a historical arc, from the creation of the city to the current movements in defense of democracy and freedom. While Brasilia is a remarkable epic on the international stage, its cultural history has unfolded over the course of six decades among its residents and Brazilians everywhere,” says the curator.

In Brasilia: The Art of Democracy,“artists from Brazil’s five regions are brought together, showcasing works that make use of a vast diversity of techniques and ways of experiencing art ‘as an experimental exercise of freedom,’ to quote an aphorism by Mário Pedrosa, considered the greatest art critic of all time,” Herkenhoff says.

About the exhibition

The exhibition features roughly 180 items by around 80 artists, including documents such as a special diploma awarded to the workers who built the new city by Juscelino Kubitschek, president of Brazil from 1955 to 1961, who ordered the construction of Brasilia and the transfer of power from Rio de Janeiro to the country’s central plateau region. Visitors can also see a sketch of the city masterplan signed by Lúcio Costa, and a manuscript by Oscar Niemeyer about the JK Monument.

On display are works by contemporary artists such as Cildo Meireles, Vik Muniz, Rosângela Rennó, Anna Maria Maiolino, Carlos Zilio, Jonathas de Andrade, Daiara Tukano, Adriana Kariú, Xadalu, Pedro Motta and Bené Fonteles. There are photos by Evandro Teixiera, Milton Guran, Leonardo Finotti, Orlando Brito, Ricardo Stuckert and Joaquim Paiva, and books by Elio Gaspari, Nicolas Behr and Raúl Antelo (about Maria Martins and Duchamp). There is also furniture by Oscar Niemeyer, Sérgio Rodrigues, Lina Bo Bardi, Zanine Caldas and Bernardo Figueiredo. There are works by renowned names such as Maria Martins, Marcel Duchamp, Guignard, Mary Vieira, Ceschiatti and Rubem Valentim. There is a photo installation containing 32 images generated by AI. In addition, there are 10 texts and objects by Christus Nóbrega, who in a utopian way reimagines the characters involved in building the federal capital and its process.

The curator analyzes the federal capital from a political and temporal perspective.“Brasilia had a long baptism of fire against authoritarianism, coups and attempts to abolish the rule of law. By resisting the attacks on the seat of the three branches of government, Brasilia earned its title as the republican, democratic and now also moral capital of Brazil, and its shining voice is the 1988 Constitution,” he says.

Through Brasilia: The Art of Democracy, FGV Art reaffirms its innovative objective of uniting artistic experimentation and academic reflection by means of exhibitions, publications, seminars, courses, workshops and a cultural mediation program.

Inspiration and tribute

Vera Brant (1927-2014) was born in Diamantina, Minas Gerais. She moved to Brasilia in 1960 and never left. She was JK’s confidante and a friend of politicians, diplomats and artists. She helped Darcy Ribeiro found the University of Brasilia and exchanged letters with Carlos Drummond de Andrade, which were compiled to form one of her many published books. She lost her government job during the 1964 military dictatorship and became a real estate entrepreneur.

“She was the first generous periscope to see Brasilia as an extratemporal and extraterritorial network,” says Herkenhoff.

Brant wove Brasilia together with JK, Niemeyer, Athos Bulcão, Darcy Ribeiro, Wladimir Murtinho, the University of Brasilia, Gilmar Mendes, Zanine Caldas, Rubem Valentim and Galeno.

Vera Brant’s mobility through such varied fields of action guided the curatorial group to realize that Brasilia, beyond the predominantly male field of power, is actually a feminine city. The exhibition includes a group of female sculptors from Brasilia (Maria Martins, Mary Vieira, Marianne Peretti and the Karajá ceramicists), as well as a group of artisans and sculptors from the nearby town of Planaltina.

The poet Nicolas Behr (born in Cuiabá in 1958), who has lived in the federal capital since he was a teenager, and whose work features in this exhibition, wrote that “Brasilia needs art to disengage itself from power and finally become Braxilia” (“Braxília não lugar,” published by Fósforo).

Running until July 2024, Brasilia: The Art of Democracy is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. 


Adriana Vignoli, Adriane Kariú, Ailton Krenak, Alberto da Veiga Guignard, Alexandre Murucci, Alfredo Ceschiatti, Anna Maria Maiolino, Athos Bulcão, Bené Fonteles, Benjamin Silva, Bernardo Figueiredo, Bruno Faria, Bruno Giorgi, Carlos Zilio, Chico Silva, Christus Nóbrega, Cildo Meireles, Dadá do Barro, Daiara Tukano, Dirceu Maues, Dona Severina, Edu Simões, Evandro Prado, Evandro Teixeira, Fernando Lindote, Francisco Galeno, Fred Lamego, Fulvio Roiter, Gabriela Biló, Grupo Poro, Gu da Cei, Hal Wildson, Helô Sanvoy, João Angelini, Joaquim Paiva, Jonathas de Andrade, José Roberto Bassul, Juvenal Pereira, Kurt Klagsbrunn, Leonardo Finotti, Lina Bo Bardi, Lucia Gomes, Luciana Paiva, Lucio Costa, Luiz Mauro, Marcel Duchamp, Marcela Campos, Marcelo Brodsky, Marcio Borsoi, Maria do Barro, Maria Martins, Marianne Perretti, Mary Vieira, Milton Guran, Milton Ribeiro, Nicolas Behr, Orlando Brito, Oscar Niemeyer, Patricia Bagniewski, Pedro Motta, Rafael Pagatini, Reynaldo Candia, Ricardo Stuckert, Roberto Burle Marx, Rosângela Rennó, Rubem Valentim, Sergio Adriano H, Sérgio Rodrigues, Siron Franco, Talles Lopes, Usha Velasco, Vik Muniz, Vitor Schietti, Wagner Barja, Xadalu, Yolanda Freire, Zanine Caldas,and Zuleika de Souza.


Located in FGV’s main building in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, FGV Art is a space dedicated to appreciation, artistic experimentation and contemporary debates around art and culture, seeking to encourage dialogue with creative and heterogeneous sectors of society.


190 Praia de Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro

Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Image illustrating this article: VIK Muniz - January 8, 2023 photograph 182x279cm


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