Art Talk—The Arts of the Everyday: Found Materials in Brazilian Art & Printmaking at Home

Bits of fabric, metal scraps, trash—these are just some of the experimental materials artists have used to make political statements. From sculpture to the graphic arts, a vibrant tradition of found materials, assemblage, and collage exists in Brazil, where artists have deployed these techniques to illuminate economic, racial, and environmental issues. This talk explores innovative works at the Harvard Art Museums and beyond, followed by a demonstration of how to make a collagraphic print at home using found materials.

This talk is part of, a series investigating power dynamics in artworks across the collections. Considering intersections of art and power, our curatorial team discuss how artists engage with social and political crises, use art to upset systems of power, and imagine more equitable futures.


+ Materials Lab at Home:

+ Clarissa Tossin, Brazilian, “Spent,” 2009. Porcelain and trash. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Elaine Levin, 2018.307. © Clarissa Tossin, “Spent,” 2019; courtesy of the artist.

+ Vik Muniz, “After Motherwell,” from the series “Pictures of Ink,” 2002. Iris digital print with silkscreen varnish. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund, 2007.182.6. © Vik Muniz / Artist Rights Society, New York, NY.

+ DOCUMENTERY FILM—Waste Land (2010):

+ Beatriz Milhazes, “Coisa Linda,” 2002. Fabric bound book with screenprints. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., 2017.67. © Beatriz Milhazes.

+ Helen Citron Boodman, “Red, White and Blue,” 1973. Collagraph. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of the artist, M24129. © Helen Citron Boodman.

+ Helen Citron Boodman, “Red, White and Blue,” 1973. Collagraph plate, appliquéed card and foil cut-outs, pre-moulded figurative elements, variously colored, on fabric-covered Masonite. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of the artist, M2430. © Helen Citron Boodman.

+ Natalia Ángeles Vieyra, Maher Curatorial Fellow of American Art, Division of European and American Art;
+ Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Curatorial Fellow, Division of European and American Art;
+ Francesca Bewer, Research Curator, Conservation and Technical Study Programs, Director of Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art.
+ A. Cassandra Albinson, Margaret S. Winthrop Curator of European Art and Head of the Division of European and American Art.

Recorded Thursday, November 5, 2020. © President and Fellows of Harvard College. Video: Natalia Ángeles Vieyra, Joanna Seidenstein, Francesca Bewer. For questions related to permission for commercial use of this video, please contact the Department of Digital Imaging and Visual Resources at [email protected]

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