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In this article, the critic Sheila Leirner seeks to differentiate between marginal art, marginalized art, and art that is understood as marginalized by the artist who created it. In her opinion, there is a tendency to regard marginal art and artists either as “misunderstood” or perhaps as “heroes” who disdain the art world. To Leirner, however, the only artist who is unquestionably marginal is the one who has no access to the art system or is out of touch with it. Examples are graffiti art, Art Brut (outsider art), and art created by people who are insane. Leirner is of the idea that the simple rejection of the art system does not make an artist “marginal,” although there are many artists who marginalize themselves. There are alternative solutions to the official art system, such as cooperatives, that allow artists to exhibit work in other venues. Moreover, sooner or later, the system itself ends up absorbing the work that emerges as most significant.
Artigo no qual a crítica Sheila Leirner busca estabelecer diferenças entre arte marginal, arte marginalizada e o que entende como arte marginalizada pelo próprio autor. Segundo ela, há tendência a ver a arte e o artista marginal como incompreendidos pela sociedade ou heróis, que não se submetem ao circuito artístico. Para a autora, o único artista de fato marginal é aquele que não tem acesso ao sistema artístico ou que não se entende como tal; é o caso do grafite, da arte bruta, da arte dos loucos, entre outros. Para Leirner, a simples negação do sistema da arte não torna os artistas marginais, ainda que muitos deles se marginalizem a si mesmos. Segundo ela, existem soluções alternativas ao sistema artístico oficial, como as cooperativas, que permitem ao artista mostrar sua obra em outros circuitos. Além disso, o sistema acaba absorvendo, mais cedo ou mais tarde, as produções mais significativas.
The art critic Sheila Leirner wrote this article in the late 1970s, a very complex period in Brazilian art, due to the repressive military government that would remain in power for two decades (1964–85). The text begins with Leirner’s attempt to define the concept of “marginal art,” in which she includes international artists, with a special focus “on our artists.” Hélio Oiticica’s banner, “Seja marginal, seja herói” (1968) [Be Marginal, Be a Hero], proposes precisely what Leirner criticizes: not just turning the artist into a hero, but extending that label to various other social misfits. Regarding the figure of the marginalized man, another of Oiticica’s work becomes significant: “Bólide Caixa 18, Poema Caixa 2, Homenagem a Cara de Cavalo” (1966) [Box Bólide 18, Box Poem 2, Homage to (the drug trafficker) Horse Face]. In the opinion of the writer Celso Favaretto, such an artistic approach would end up featuring “an individual attitude of social nonconformity as the definition of the artist’s own marginality.”
As a journalist and art critic, the French Brazilian Sheila Leirner (b. 1948) was a member of the Conselho de Arte e Cultura da Bienal in 1982 and 1983 and came to be the chief curator of two biennials in that period: the eighteenth (1985) and the nineteenth (1987). After studying sociology of art in France, Leirner became an art critic for the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo in 1975. She published a collection of her essays under the title Arte e seu tempo (São Paulo: Editôra Perspectiva, 1991), a book in which she began to set a priority on what she called “new art.” That was also the year Leirner moved to Paris, where she worked as an arts administrator. She represented the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Latin America (1993-99) and became a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) (French division). Leirner has contributed to countless journals and supplements in both countries, including Beaux-Arts Magazine, Europe Magazine Littéraire, Revista da USP, and Cadernos de Literatura Brasileira. She was also on the scholarship committee for UNESCO-Aschberg.
Another text relevant in this context is one in which Leirner analyzes the art produced during the 1970s and 1980s in Brazil, in the midst of pluralism in international art, titled “Brasil: uma nova arte” [doc. no. 1110940]. Moreover, in July 1978, the critic wrote the text “Arte e subversão” [doc. no. 1110510], in which she reported that during that very week, the Brazilian artist Lincoln Volpini (b. 1952) had been sentenced to a year in prison by the military government. Volpini stood accused of “issuing highly subversive messages” through his painting Penhor da igualdade (1976) [Guarantee of Equality], an expression that he found among the verses of the Brazilian National Hymn.
A crítica Sheila Leirner escreve este artigo no fim da década de 1970, um período complexo do ponto de vista das artes no Brasil, principalmente devido à repressão do governo militar. No início do texto, quando busca definir o conceito de arte marginal, pensa a questão de forma internacional, mas olhando para os "nossos artistas". O estandarte de Hélio Oiticica "Seja marginal, seja herói" (1968), dialoga com o tema discutido por Leirner propondo exatamente aquilo que ela critica: a heroicização, talvez não só do artista, mas de todos aqueles que não se inserem em determinados sistemas sociais. Sobre a figura do homem marginalizado, a obra "Bólide Caixa 18, Poema Caixa 2, Homenagem a Cara de Cavalo" (1966) é significativa. Segundo Celso Favaretto, esse trabalho ressaltaria "uma atitude individual de inconformismo social, como figura de sua própria marginalidade".
e- Atuação crítica dos artistas. Ações em defesa da liberdade artística