Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica
A block away from the Real Gabinete, an imposing neoclassical building houses the Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica (Rua Luís de Camões 68, Centro, tel. 21/2232-4213, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun.). The building is devoted to one of Brazil’s most avant-garde and influential contemporary artists: Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980).
Born into a Carioca family of leftist intellectuals (among other things, his father was a math teacher, an experimental photographer, and an entomologist), Oiticica grew up surrounded by radical ideas.
In his short life, the innovative Carioca artist produced an important body of work ranging from his initial abstract compositions exploring space and color (slightly similar to the modern works of Klee and Mondrian) to his later and highly imaginative “anti-art” sculptural objects and “habitable paintings.” The most famous of these were hybrid banners-tents-capes (known as parangolés) designed to be worn while swaying to samba rhythms.
Aside from a permanent collection that focuses more on Oiticica’s earlier works, the Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica also hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition