The São Paulo-based gallerist Luciana Brito launches her New York project space—a collaboration with the design gallery Espasso—on 6 September, with Ruptura, a group show of modernist Brazilian artists relatively little known in North America. Brito’s expansion follows that of fellow Brazilian galleries Nara Roesler and Mendes Wood DM, both of which have opened outposts in Manhattan in the past two years.
While Brito acknowledges that the political and economic crises in Brazil have pushed galleries to find new ways to show work, she points to the wave of attention that Brazilian artists have recently received in North America as the primary driver behind her new endeavour. “Our first exhibition is a historical presentation of artists we work with, like Waldemar Cordeiro and Geraldo de Barros, which we thought made sense in this moment because there have been all these exhibitions of historical Brazilian artists in New York,” Brito says. These include a 2014 Lygia Clark show at MoMA, and the Lygia Pape and Hélio Oiticica shows at the Met Breuer and the Whitney, respectively, this year.
In line with institutions and galleries paying greater attention to Latin American artists, Sotheby’s announced on 16 August that they will no longer hold separate contemporary Latin American art sales, folding the category instead into their marquee contemporary art sales each season.
Following Ruptura, Brito plans to present a group show of younger artists, such as Héctor Zamora, Caio Reisewitz, and Tiago Tebet. “The idea is to show artists who aren’t represented in New York,” Brito says.
Galeria Nara Roesler set out with the same intention of gaining international recognition for their artists two years ago and quickly built enough momentum to relocate from their original space in the Flower District to a 1,100-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side earlier this year. “We opened in New York because we wanted to develop relationships with institutions here,” says the gallery’s associate partner Daniel Roesler. “That has been very successful in the sense that we have a number of projects that are now in the process of being produced in different institutions in the US.”
Meanwhile, Hic Svnt Dracones, an uptown project space run as a collaboration between Mendes Wood DM and Michael Werner Gallery has kept a lower-profile, despite ambitious exhibitions, like the recent one juxtaposing Sonia Gomes, an Afro-Brazilian artist in her 60s, and the German Expressionist A.R. Penck. While “the world has fallen in love with Neo-concrete art,” says the gallerist Matthew Wood, “those artists have been dead for 25 years. What they did was singular and important, but we can’t let their tardy recognition eclipse the fact that Brazilian artists in their 30s are making incredible work. My job is to make sure the American scene doesn’t show up 50 years late to the party this time.”