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    Introdução: resistir ou libertar? / Frederico de Morais
    Artes plásticas na América Latina: do transe ao transitório. -- Rio de Janeiro : Civilização Brasileira, 1979.
    p. 13-16
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Morais, Federico de. “Introdução: resistir ou libertar.” In Artes plásticas na América Latina: do transe au transitório, 13-16. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1979.
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In this text, Frederico de Morais emphasizes the importance—and to a certain extent the impotence—of a greater union among Latin American countries. In the beginning of the passage, he states that Brazil was no longer able to ignore the relevance of other Latin American countries; and on the other hand, it was not possible for these countries to continue excluding Brazil. Only collaboration could make it possible for Latin American art to resist what he calls the “multinationals” of the art market. He argues that the system composed of art institutions—to wit: museums, the media, critics, the biennials—was also an instrument of domination ruled by the economically powerful nations. For him, the Latin American art world needed a better understanding of the art system in order to defy the hegemonic powers. In his opinion, this movement toward a greater unification against dominance was already taking place. Morais cites one example as the 1977 São Paulo Biennial in which an Argentinean group was awarded the main prize for the first time. Morais also mentions the creation of the São Paulo Latin American Art Biennial in 1978 (which ended up having only one edition).


Frederico de Morais (b. 1936) is a Brazilian art critic. The following text is the introduction to Morais’s book, Artes plásticas na América Latina: do transe ao transitório, whose first edition is from 1979. The first part of the book is a collection of essays originally published by the Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, included his texts published in journals from Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The second part is composed of unpublished texts that the author wrote while visiting Latin American countries. He compares the latter to artists’ “sketch books” created on the road, because they retain a certain freshness and emotional charge. His articles are sometimes poetic, unlike more thoroughly thought out and edited writings. In this passage, Morais still sees the recently created Latin American Biennial (1978) as a positive move toward a greater interchange between the countries in the continent, a move he considers important for the development of the arts in Latin America. However, in another text (“Apêndice: I Bienal Latino-Americana de São Paulo”), the author criticizes the event, stating that its theme, “mito e magia” (myth and magic), was evidence of a stereotypical perception of Latin American art. His criticism of the poor organization of the event itself was proved correct, as it had only one edition. 

Also see Frederico de Morais, "Apêndice: I Bienal Latino-Americana de São Paulo," Artes plásticas na América Latina: do transe ao transitório (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1979), 62-65.

María C. Gaztambide, ICAA; Mariana von Hartenthal, collaborator.
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Courtesy of Frederico Morais, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil