Semana da Arte Moderna de 1922 [Modern Art Week, São Paulo 1922] By Ann Wells, Sarah
Arguably the single most influential event of the historical avant-gardes in Latin America, Brazil’s Modern Art Week (São Paulo, 1922) put forth a vision for new art that would prove influential throughout the 20th century. A three-day event held at São Paulo’s Municipal Theater, the Modern Art Week provided a point of connection for different artists and also displayed a new phenomenon to Brazil’s bourgeois public: the heady mix of ‘‘isms’’ which were circulating in cosmopolitan European circles, including Expressionism, Surrealism, and others. Up until then, this vision had only been articulated in Brazil in piecemeal fashion. The Modern Art Week incorporated dance, music, theater, literature, visual arts, and architecture, and featured artists and writers who would become some of the most influential in the boom of Brazilian modernism that was to follow, among them Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Anita Malfatti, and Tarsila do Amaral. Influenced by Brazil’s rapid industrialization and modernization, the event featured a heterogeneous group that, together, displayed the ambivalent modernization process that characterizes Brazilian modernism more broadly. Unlike many of their avant-garde contemporaries in Latin America and abroad, women artists played key roles in the Modern Art Week and in Brazilian modernist art more generally, especially in visual culture and dance.