The Opinião 65 exhibition was held at the MAM-Rio (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro) in 1965. With the help of gallery owner Jean Boghici, the French journalist and art dealer Cérès Franco organized it. The exhibition showed the works of twenty-nine artists (thirteen from Europe and sixteen from Brazil). Part of the opening ceremony involved the unfurling of Hélio Oiticica’s colored capes—called “Parangolés.”
In the early 1960s—after having been the mainstay of the Neo-Concrete movement—the poet and critic [José Ribamar] Ferreira Gullar (b. 1930) became an extremely vocal critic of Brazil’s social problems when he joined the CPCs (Centros Populares de Cultura). In this essay he discusses his rift with the abstract movement, and hints at his support for the emergence of new figuration as another possible avant-garde form of art. He then breaks with the avant-garde, stating that he doubts the viability of it in a developing country such as Brazil.
The book Vanguarda e subdesenvolvimento: ensaios sobre arte [Avant-Garde and Underdevelopment: Essays on Art] was written between 1965 and 1969, after the 1964 military coup that had a devastating impact on life in Brazil until 1985, when the dictatorship ended. Under those circumstances, Gullar joined the PCB (Partido Comunista Brasileño) at a time when Brazilian leftists began a process of reorientation and self-criticism, which, in one way or another, influenced Ferreira Gullar’s essays and, most of all, his critical view of the imported avant-gardes. [See the ICAA digital archive “Vanguarda e subdesenvolvimento” (1110361)].