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This newspaper article remarks on the performance of art critic Mário Pedrosa from the time he was named the director of the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) and of the VI São Paulo Biennial. Pedrosa had returned from a long trip to Europe and the Americas, visiting a number of countries in order to select the best national participations for the biennial. One of Pedrosa’s major contributions to the event was the creation of “hors concours” participants not chosen by the jurors. The aim of this innovation, which was incorporated into the biennial bylaws, was to enrich the Brazilian section on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the event by including figures who had participated in or even won prizes at previous biennials. According to Quirino Campofiorito, such figures “began to ‘dread’ the assessment of juries for admission.” The discontent resulting from previous international prizes was imperiling the participation of crucial foreign representation. In these circumstances, the aim of Pedrosa’s trip was to “ease resentment” and to ensure participations from Poland and Czechoslovakia, as well as the major show of Socialist realism prepared by the USSR.
O artigo comenta a atuação do crítico de arte Mário Pedrosa desde que assumiu a direção do MAM paulista e da VI Bienal de São Paulo. Pedrosa voltava de uma viagem a vários países americanos e europeus, onde agenciou participações na VI Bienal de São Paulo. Uma das inovações trazidas por Pedrosa ao regulamento da Bienal foi a criação da categoria de expositores "hors concours", ou seja, com isenção de Júri, com a intenção de enriquecer a Seção Brasileira da exposição, comemorativa dos dez anos de existência do certame, com a presença de artistas mais conhecidos que, já tendo participado várias vezes do evento e inclusive recebido prêmios, "começavam a tomar 'paura' no julgamento para simples admissão". Descontentamentos em relação aos Prêmios Internacionais também comprometiam a participação de indispensáveis representações estrangeiras, de modo que a viagem de Pedrosa teve a função de "desmanchar ressentimentos" e garantir a participação da Polônia e Tcheco-Eslováquia, além da importante exposição do Realismo Socialista da URSS.
The curator of the VI São Paulo Biennial held in 1961 spent almost an entire year traveling the world in order to select national participations for the event. Traveling to the Soviet Union was unprecedented and also dangerous considering the tense climate of the Cold War years. Countries like the USSR, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Cuba (after the revolution) participated in the biennial for the first time.
Painter, critic, professor, and art historian Quirino Campofiorito (1902–93) presided over what was called the Núcleo Bernardelli. One of the founders of the Associação de Artistas Brasileiros (AAB), he was active in countless organizations and events on the Brazilian art scene. He wrote a daily column for Diários Associados (published in the newspapers Diário da Noite, O Jornal, and O Cruzeiro), and was a member of the jury for the I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo in 1951.
Intellectual and politician Mário Pedrosa (1900–81) was unquestionably the pivotal figure in twentieth-century Brazilian art theory and criticism. He started out as the editor of the international politics section of the newspaper Diário da Noite. He joined the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) in the twenties, and in 1932, was imprisoned for his political activism (at that time, he was a Trotskyite). During the Estado Novo under dictator Getúlio Vargas, Pedrosa lived in exile in France and New York, returning to Brazil after World War II. A contributor to Correio da Manhã, he later founded the weekly Vanguarda Socialista due to his anti-Stalinist position. He presented his dissertation on aesthetics at the Faculdade de Arquitetura in Rio de Janeiro in 1949. That text, “Da natureza afetiva da forma na obra de arte,” expressed his ideas about philosophy and Gestalt psychology. He was one of the founders of the Brazilian chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) (in 1948) and an organizer of the International Congress of Art Critics held in Brasília in 1959. He wrote the art column for Tribuna da Imprensa from 1950 to 1954. He was a member of the organizing committee for the second and third São Paulo Biennials (1953 and 1955 respectively) before becoming the director of MAM-SP (1961–63). He was the secretary of the National Council on Culture during the brief tenure of Brazilian president Jânio Quadros. During the military dictatorship in Brazil, he sought exile in Chile where he directed the Museo de la Solidaridad in Santiago. After the coup under Pinochet (1973), he went to Havana where he was the secretary of the Museo de la Resistencia Salvador Allende. He did not return to Brazil until 1977, following the amnesty. In 1980, he was the first person to sign the manifesto founding the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Part of his vast library (some eight thousand volumes) is available at the Biblioteca Nacional in Rio de Janeiro.
For further reading on the debate raised by Campofiorito, see Pedrosa’s “Introdução” to the VI São Paulo Biennial [doc. no. 1111040], as well as critic Harold Rosenberg’s article “Arte em órbita” published in ARTnews, which sent him to cover that biennial [doc. no. 1111186].
Mário Pedrosa passara quase um ano viajando a toda parte do mundo em busca de participações para a Bienal. Sua viagem à União Soviética era fato inédito e arrojado, levando-se em consideração o contexto da Guerra Fria. A URSS, Hungria, Romênia, Bulgária e Cuba, pela primeira vez, compareceram com grande número de artistas à VI Bienal. Quirino Campofiorito, crítico de arte, pintor, gravador, desenhista e ilustrador, escrevia diariamente para os Diários Associados ("Diário da Noite", "O Jornal", "O Cruzeiro"); integrou o júri da I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de S. Paulo, de 1951.
e- Reflexões sobre transformações históricas, perspectivas políticas e sentido social da arte
m- Bienal de São Paulo