Brazil Contemporary

Ernesto Neto, collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Ernesto Neto, collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Brazil Contemporary – Contemporary art, architecture, and visual culture design 
Four Rotterdam museums show the diversity of Brazilian culture today

Four Rotterdam museums – Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the Netherlands Photo Museum and Kunsthal Rotterdam – are bringing the rich culture of Brazil to the city on the Maas. Brazil Contemporary – Contemporary art, architecture and visual culture presents every facet of Brazilian culture in three exhibitions, a publication, and a programme of activities. Brazil Contemporary will run from 30 May to 23 August 2009.

Brazil is inspiring, astounding, amazing. It is one of the largest countries in the world, with vast cities of millions of inhabitants that defy the imagination. Brazil is also developing at breakneck speed and is one of the economic giants of the future. But Brazil has its downside too: the depletion of the rainforest, the enormous contrast between rich and poor, the favelas. These phenomena are culturally reflected in an exciting cocktail of high and low art, of street art and politically committed art, and of different art disciplines and traditional craftsmanship. Brazilian culture will go to your head.

After the success of China Contemporary (2006), the three museums have decided to join forces again to focus on a country that has emerged as a global player in economic, social and cultural terms within a short period. Brazil Contemporary presents a broad panorama of Brazilian culture and introduces the public to young Brazilian artists, architects and designers.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents a dazzling survey of the contemporary art of Brazil. The work of Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980) occupies pride of place. Oiticica considered that Brazil should not just passively undergo and imitate Western influences, but that artists should transmute these influences into a uniquely Brazilian culture. The exhibition shows to what extent today’s artists are still under the influence of Oiticica, with works by Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Cao Guimaraes and Ricardo Bassbaum. 30 May to 23 August 2009

The Netherlands Architecture Institute introduces the public to one of the biggest cities in the world: São Paulo. With its melting pot of cultures and identities, São Paulo is the reflection of contemporary Brazil. The exhibition introduces visitors to the mind-boggling size, the social structures and the cohesive forces of this metropolis. There are three intertwining narrative threads. First is the story of a vast city with millions of inhabitants. Then there is the story about life in the city – neighbourhoods, communities and well-known architecture projects by Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, Paulo Mendes da Rocha and others. And finally there is the story of the Paulistanos, the residents of São Paulo, and their dreams for the city. 30 May to 23 August 2009

The Netherlands Photo Museum zooms in on the rapidly changing Brazilian visual culture with its mixture of high and low, élitist and populist, artistic and applied. The exhibition shows not only photography, but also other old and new media, television and internet, with an excursus on fashion and design. 30 May to 27 September 2009

NAI Publishers will release a richly illustrated full-colour publication in Dutch/English. The volume presents a picture of the diversity of Brazilian culture and contains contributions by Paul Meurs, Jaap Guldemond, Frits Gierstberg and others.

Press Preview: Thursday 28 May 2009
10.00 Reception in the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Wilhelminakade 332, Rotterdam
10.15 Word of welcome and introduction to Brazil Contemporary by Ruud Visschedijk, director of the Netherlands Fotomuseum
10.30 Guided tour of the exhibition in the Netherlands Fotomuseum by curator Frits Gierstberg and assistant curators Caroline von Courten and Sanne Hooglander
11.15 A short bus trip to the Netherlands Architecture Institute
11.30 Guided tour of the exhibition in the Netherlands Architecture Institute by curator Paul Meurs and director Ole Bouman
12.15 Guided tour of the exhibition in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen by curators Jaap Guldemond and Bregje van Woensel
13.00 Lunch in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and a chance to put your questions to the curators and several of the exhibiting artists

There are a limited number of places for the preview. Please apply for accreditation at, no later than 17 May.

Brazil Rotterdam
But that is not all. In conjunction with Rotterdam Festivals, the Rotterdam summer will be a more sultry one with Brazilian jazz, films, street art and a special edition of the Summer Carnival.

Note for the editor
You can find practical details and information for visitors on the fact sheet. For more information about Brazil Contemporary and applications for illustrative material please contact Brand! communicatie, Rinske Brand via /, telephone: +31 10 218 85 03 or +31 6 21 27 46 61.

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