Art Duly Noted

This Spring, Brazil Lands in New York: 5 New Shows Capture the Country’s Electric Art Ecosystem

With Brazilian curator Adriano Pedrosa at the helm of this year’s Venice Biennale, the art world is getting a crash course in the country’s creative topography. Pedrosa’s selection tends toward the historical, but New York galleries are offering a contemporary counterpart with an exceptional selection of young Brazilian artists opening shows this week. Later this month, MoMA partners with the Studio Museum in Harlem to present an exhibition by Tadáskía, a young Black trans artist from Rio de Janeiro, who will make her North American debut with an immersive installation that combines freeform drawings with poetic text.

For this month’s Duly Noted column, we’ve gathered five shows on view in New York that offer an exclusive look inside the practices of Brazilian artists shaping the scene today.

Aislan Pankararu, Sem Título, da série Fruto da Vida, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Salon 94.

Endless River” by Aislan Pankararu at Salon 94
On view through June 22

Raised in the semi-arid Caatinga region of Northeastern Brazil, Aislan Pankararu (b. 1990) works within the palette of his native landscape to create abstractions inspired by his Indigenous heritage. Since his first exhibition only four years ago, the painter (who also studied medicine) has quickly found his footing in the global art world. His North American debut includes more than two dozen canvases, made in acrylic and permanent marker—as well as natural pigments that are similar to those used for traditional Pankararu body painting.

“The desire to bring color combinations together is linked to a universe of great references of my origins, of the place where I come from: a semi-arid place,” explains the artist. “Somehow it has brought me closer and closer to natural pigments, such as clay and leather. The coloring of the linen fabric in the canvas itself is linked to this universe.”

Also on view at Salon 94 is a small but revelatory show of paintings and sculptures by the late modernist Brazilian artist Ione Saldanha. Somehow, it’s the first North American show for this artist, whose work more than merits its moment in the spotlight.

Lucas Arruda, Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series), 2022. Photography by Everton Ballardin. Image courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

Assum Preto” by Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner
On view through June 15

If there is a definitive Brazilian painter of our era, it is Lucas Arruda (b. 1983). The São Paolo native’s sublime canvases have historically depicted seascapes, junglescapes, or monochromes. Of late, he’s introduced elements of representation, with a series of works featuring boats, crosses, and celestial bodies making their global debut in this show at David Zwirner’s 537 West 20th Street location.

Also on view is one of Arruda’s site-specific light installations, inspired by the projectors used by art history professors of the past. As Arruda explains, “In many ways, I think of these as an ideogram for the landscapes I am making in my paintings. There is a duality in these paintings that is literalized in the light works where light is projected onto a painted square on the wall. They are about light, but they are also about life and death, craziness and sanity, above and below, and so on. This is a delicate frontier.”

On view at Zwirner’s Uptown space through May 25 is an exhibition of works by Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, the foremost Brazilian painter of the 20th century—not to miss!

Rodolpho Parigi, VAL, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Nara Roesler.

Volumens” by Rodolpho Parigi at Nara Roesler
On view through June 8

One of the first Brazilian galleries to set up shop in New York back in 2016, Nara Roesler is a true steward of the country’s contemporary art scene. The gallery’s May show features São Paulo painter Rodolpho Parigi (b. 1977), whose Surrealist-inspired biomorphic forms are at once entirely their own and simultaneously rife with art historical references and mash-ups.

According to the gallery’s senior curatorial director Luis Pérez-Oramas, Parigi “is set apart by the lustful, colorful, bodily daring, and queer frankness of his work.” He adds, “This show is a testimony of the afterlife of a surreal impulse forever present in Latin American art.” “Volumens” is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States, following a massive show of his work at São Paulo’s Tomie Ohtake Institute in 2022.

Anderson Borba, The figure with colorful skin, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Fortes
D'Aloia & Gabriel Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel.

Thinking Hands” by Anderson Borba and Gokula Stoffel at François Ghebaly
On view through June 6

For their first outings in the United States, Anderson Borba (b. 1972) and Gokula Stoffel (b. 1988), engage in a subtle dance—of material, method, and meaning. Both work across media, exploring the ways in which mind and body interact in autonomous and intertwined manners. With family roots in the interior of northeastern Brazil, Anderson comes from a tradition of woodcarving. “Many very prolific self-taught woodcarvers are from there,” he explains. “This ancestral connection is a big part of my work, consciously and unconsciously.”

For Stoffel, the city itself is her inspiration: “My studio is in downtown São Paulo, an area full of construction, textile trade, and all sorts of industry suppliers. I love to wander around those shops. My studio is filled with materials from these places, other memorabilia I collect, and things I find or am given.” The François Ghebaly show includes a selection of two and three-dimensional works in various materials by both artists.

Luana Vitra, Paó, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Mendes Wood DM.

Mineral Rising” by Luana Vitra at Mendes Wood DM
On view through May 25

Another North American debut takes over the Tribeca space of Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood DM. Luana Vitra (b. 1995) works in textile, wood, copper, and iron to create hanging and free-standing sculptural works inspired by childhood memories, the surrounding landscape, and more recently, her time in South Africa learning Xhosa and Zulu techniques of making.

Vitra is drawn to the materials of mining—the industry that has defined Minas Gerais, the region of Brazil where she lives. Vitra’s work takes these textures to transcendent heights. “Stones and metals can lead the body to spiritual connections, and so, if these materials can move these energies in our body, this means they cohabitate the physical and spiritual,” she shares. “I understand copper as a physical and spiritual conductor of energy and information that moves the spirituality of the minerals. The repetition of gestures and shapes in the context of my work is a form of praying. In the works in the exhibition, the presence of copper is repeated like a litany, which moves energies, spells and miracles.”