Beatriz Milhazes: Screenprints 1996 – 2011
5 December 2011 – 29 February 2012
The Whitechapel Gallery opens the first exhibition of its three-year curatorial partnership with the Gallery at Windsor, Vero Beach, Florida.
Opening on 3 December, Beatriz Milhazes: Screenprints 1996 – 2011 is the first annual exhibition at Windsor curated by the Whitechapel Gallery, London, to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. This is the first time the Whitechapel Gallery has embarked on a partnership of this kind, and provides a new US platform for the Gallery.
Beatriz Milhazes is an internationally renowned Brazilian artist, whose exuberantly coloured, rhythmically constructed artworks have been exhibited worldwide. Beatriz Milhazes: Screenprints 1996 – 2011 is the first comprehensive display of the artist’s bold and abstract works on paper.
Central to the exhibition will be a series of screen and wood block prints Milhazes made with Durham Press in Pennsylvania during the past 15 years. These screen prints and wood block editions offer a subtle and fascinating evolution of form, colour and optical rhythm. Bringing all of these prints together promises to offer a coherent, revelatory and visually dazzling journey encompassing European modernism and Brazilian Tropicalia. Milhazes draws inspiration from the street, religion, nature and fashion.
Alongside more than 20 screen and woodblock prints, will be two rarely seen limited edition artists’ books. Coisa Linda (2002), published by MoMA, New York, contains lyrics from Brazilian songs presented alongside Milhazes’ collaged and cut-out prints. Meu Bem (2008), published by Riding House, describes Rio through images inspired by the Copacabana sidewalk, Samba dancing and wildly shaped plants.
Each year the exhibition opening will create a ‘salon’ like ambience for the Whitechapel Gallery at Windsor, where leading figures from the art world can meet to discuss and debate ideas. At the centre of this is the Windsor International Art Committee, a new circle of ambassadors for the project drawn from collectors, gallerists, curators and Windsor members. For each exhibition a practitioner, such as a writer, poet or musician will create a unique performance inspired by the art on display. This year musician and composer Arto Lindsay, whose music is greatly influenced by his time spent in Brazil, will perform in the exhibition. Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, will also be in conversation with Milhazes for the opening weekend.
Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, London said: ‘The Whitechapel Gallery has always pioneered world-class artists and we are delighted to realise a new exhibition in the Gallery at Windsor. I see Beatriz’s work as orchestral, with circular elements interweaving to form a symphony of colour and shape. The titles of her work are in themselves a form of poetry. To show these screen and woodblock prints alongside the beautiful artist’s books gives the show a further dimension. Art historical echoes are both European and Brazilian – we can see Milhazes as the inheritor both of artists such as Matisse and Sonia Delaunay, as well as the Brazilian Tropicalia movement. The different forms of her work will be enhanced by the fantastic light of the gallery and the beautiful landscape surrounding it.’
‘We have long admired the Whitechapel Gallery and its ground-breaking programme of exhibitions and events, and are delighted to be forming a partnership with them’, says the Hon. Hilary M. Weston, philanthropist wife of international retail magnate Mr W. Galen Weston, who established the Windsor community and are supporting the displays. ‘Having an artist from Latin America is the perfect recognition of Miami and Florida’s unique geographical position between the North and South American continents. Windsor has a fantastic history of showing world-class contemporary artists, including Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig and Alex Katz, and Beatriz is a brilliant addition.’
Leading art consultancy Nine AM Limited, who brought together the collaboration, will be working closely with the Whitechapel Gallery to realise the series of exhibitions.
Notes to Editors
• Beatriz Milhazes b. 1960, Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Milhazes’ works are
characterized by vivid compositions of abstract shapes, flower motifs, geometric forms, and rhythmical patterns in strong, luminous colors executed in a variety of mediums. Drawing influence from the sights and sounds of her native Rio de Janeiro, there are roses and patterns borrowed from Brazilian Baroque, colonial and folk art; flowers and plants inspired by the city’s botanical garden, which is next door to her studio; and thick wavy stripes — a nod to the undulating optical art inspired mosaic pavement that the
Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx created in 1970 for the promenade at Copacabana Beach. Growing up under the former military dictatorship in Brazil in the 1980s, Milhazes’ access to works by 20th century abstract artists such as Matisse was confined only to picture books. The absence of canonical artistic influence in her early sensibility could be seen as a liberating factor in her practice, one that relieves her from the dynamic of stylistic lineage. Her work can be understood as part of Brazilian modernism that was drawn from the Tropicalia movement inherent in 1920s and 1930s Brazil, whereby street culture, particularly elements of the carnival, were fused with concepts of ‘high’ art.
• Central to the work presented in Beatriz Milhazes: Screenprints 1996 – 2011 are the series of screen and wood block prints she has made with Durham Press in rural Pennsylvania over the past 15 years. Founded by Jean-Paul Russell, former assistant to Andy Warhol, artists are free to spend weeks in peaceful countryside away from the city. Between 1996 and 2006 Milhazes created five major bodies of work with Durham Press, including Copacabana (2003) and Fig, Jamaica and Summer Night (2006). Jamaica is a 108-piece woodblock puzzle, printed in in ten colours surrounded by ten colours of transparent screenprinting, while Summer Night is one of the largest of her prints to date.
• Beatriz Milhazes has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Brazilian pavilion (2003), São Paolo Biennial (2005), and New Orleans Biennial (2008 - 2009). Milhazes has recently had solo exhibitions at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France (2009), Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2010) and Gold Rose Series, James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA (2010).
• The Gallery at Windsor is a not-for-profit art space which sits in the heart of the Windsor community, ‘a village by the sea’, close to the ocean and in landscaped gardens. The Gallery at Windsor has been the site of exhibitions by leading contemporary artists since 2002. Previous artists who have exhibited include Christo, Peter Doig, Alex Katz and Ed Ruscha.
• Windsor is a family oriented residential community located in Vero Beach, Florida. It spans 416 acres on a lush barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. It was established in 1989 by Hilary and W. Galen Weston of Toronto and designed by renowned town planners Andrès Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Visit http://www.windsorflorida.com for more information.
• For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George and Walid Raad. With beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, art courses, dining room and bookshop there is always something free to see. The Gallery is a touchstone for modern and contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.
• A limited edition publication will be produced and feature an essay by Iwona Blazwick. This will be available from both the Windsor Gallery and the Whitechapel Gallery