In his role as an art critic and professor, Rodrigo Naves (b. 1954) weighs the performance of Edemar Cid Ferreira (b. 1943) as a major public figure in the visual arts in Brazil. Cid Ferreira was a Brazilian banker charged and imprisoned in 2005 for money laundering, conspiracy and tax evasion. This article is a thoughtful study of the banker’s choice to take the visual arts under the umbrella of his “patronage,” since art is still considered to be an elitist field. Naves believes the banker did more harm than good to the Brazilian visual arts, and that this milieu is too weak to demonstrate any kind of social relevance.
Cid Ferreira himself speaks out in the introduction to a catalogue for the exhibition Côte à Côté: art contemporain du Brésil [Side by Side: Contemporary Art in Brazil], held in Bordeaux. In some sense, this was the origin of Brasil 500, held in 2000 by Ferreira’s own company, BrasilConnects. Ferreira praises the art produced in his country in order to increase its value as a product for export, stirring up a great debate that has been going on down to this day.
Art historian, critic, university professor and even a writer of fiction, Rodrigo Naves has been the editor of the supplement Folhetim, in the Folha de São Paulo, and of the journal Novos Estudos. He is currently editor for the project Espaços da Arte Brasileira for the publisher Cosac Naify.