February 20, 2013

Semana de Arte Moderna (Modern Art Week) (Brazil) February 18, 1922


     Just before the publication of his book of poetry Paulicéia Desvairada, Brazilian poet Mário de Andrade collaborated with artist Antia Malfatti and poet Oswald de Andrade to create a large event in São Paulo that might bring attention to their work. The celebration, the Semana de Arte Moderna (Week of Modern Art), consisted of exhibitions of paintings, readings, and lectures on art, music, and literature.
    The festival was held from February 11 to February 18 in 1922, showing primarily at the Municipal Theater in São Paulo.

Among the painters, sculptors and architects involved were: Anita Malfatti, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Zina Aita, Vicente do Rego Monteiro, Ferrignac (Inácio de Costa Ferreira, Yan de Almeida Prado, John Graz, Alberto Martins Ribeiro, Oswaldo Goeldi, Victor Brecheret, Hildegardo Leão Velloso, Wilhelm Haarbert, Antonio Garcia Moya, and Georg Przyrembel. Writers included were Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Menotti del Picchia, Sérgio Milliet, Plínio Salgado, Ronald de Carvalho, Álvaro Moreira, Renato de Almeida, Riberiro Couto, Guilherme de Almeida, and Graça Aranha. Among the composers were Heitor Villa-Lobos, Guiomar Novais, Ernâni Braga, and Frutuoso Viana.

The two central organizes were painter Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and Mário de Andrade, who himself gave lectures on the principles of modernism and on Brazilian folk music (much of which he had recorded on his trips over the years), as well as reading his collection’s introduction, “Extremely Interesting Preface.” The culminating event was his reading of the poetry, which received numerous jeers. At least member of the Brazilian Academy, Graça Aranha, was disdained for participating. Yet it had a transformative effect on its audience not unlike the famed Armory Show held in New York City in 1913. And the event remains seen, even today, as a seminal occurrence in Brazilian modern literature. Numerous other such gatherings occurred over the years by different artists and writers.
—Douglas Messerli

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