History of Art and Architecture

Jessica Gogan Lecture

Saturday, September 17, 2016 - 3:00am

“'The experimental exercise of freedom': Domingos da criação at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1971”

Jessica Gogan
PhD, and HAA Alumna

O tecido de domingo (Material Sunday) Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1971. Photo: Raul B Pedreira Filho. Frederico Morais archive. Courtesy Frederico Morais.

In a spirit of anti-establishment and radical politics, dematerialized and collective art practices emerged worldwide in the 1960s and 70s. In Latin America, as critic Suely Rolnik notes, dictatorships insidiously operated through internalized oppressions. It is on the “micro” level of the body where the political is felt and in turn where the potential of resistance inscribes itself. In this context the very act of creating became primary and necessary. Art was no longer an object, but a political practice that Brazil's tour de force critic Mário Pedrosa famously described as “the experimental exercise of freedom." Situated at the critical juncture of this epistemic shift, the series of participatory happenings known as Domingos da Criacão(Creation Sundays) were organized by critic/curator Frederico Morais at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro in 1971 at the height of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Emerging from MAM's department of courses of which Morais was director at the time and held in the museum's gardens, the series operated at the liminal edges of democratic possibility/functional elitism, museum/city and art/life and radicalized the art/education relationship with the creative attitudes of the anthropophagic.

Jessica Gogan, formerly director of education at The Warhol, is an independent curator/researcher and director of Instituto MESA based in Rio de Janeiro and editor of Revista MESA http://institutomesa.org/RevistaMesa/edicoes.html. She received her doctorate in art history from the University of Pittsburgh in Spring 2016. Her research interests explore the connections between art and society with a focus on contemporary ethical and esthetic paradigms and practices that traverse art, curatorship and education.

*Join us for an informal discussion with Jessica Gogan on the 22nd in the seminar room, 1-2:30.  The starting point of this discussion will be museum education and community engagement, though it may go in other directions too and touch on other aspects of her work in Brazil, where she has been based for the past several years.