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Taste of Brazil

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From the February 2014 edition

Starting Feb. 1, entering the Wexner Center will be akin to getting a new stamp in your passport: Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil takes up the whole gallery space and even spills into the lobby. The show, which consists of paintings, sculptures and photography by 35 Brazilian artists, is being called the most ambitious original programming The Wex has ever undertaken. Co-curator Jennifer Lange traveled to Brazil to bring back a taste of what she calls “the melting pot of South America.” wexarts.org

Recife

Inspired by the work of Jonathas de Andrade, Lange made the trek to the artist’s home base in northern Brazil during her second trip to the country. A film (part of a concurrent documentary series) and installation, both entitled “O Levante (The Uprising),” center on an unusual problem in Recife. “Horses are technically illegal in the city, and yet they’re everywhere,” Lange says.

Rio de Janeiro

Lange spent hours in Rio’s National Library of Brazil, poring over the papers of the late Alair Gomes, whose series of photographs, “Sonatinas, four feet,” is drawn from thousands of images of men on the city’s beaches. “He then cropped and edited them in groups to create these works that not only highlight the rhythms of bodies but also capture the character of Rio in this unique way,” Lange says, adding that her time studying his journals at the library informed the presentation of the photographs.

Belo Horizonte

Lange was drawn to Belo Horizonte because of her familiarity with artist Cao Guimaraes, whose work “transforms everyday moments,” she says. “His material is life, the world, people.” Forty-five photographs—depicting such workaday things as “a wooden cutting board used to prop open a window”—comprise “Gambiarra Mosaic.”