A Painter of Organized Chaos

Caetano de Almeida, “Up close” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 59 1/8 x 47 1/4 inches

Two different memories came to mind while I was looking at the brightly colored abstract paintings and beguiling works on paper in the exhibition Caetano de Almeida, at Van Doren Waxter (March 25–May 15, 2021), which, according to the gallery, is de Almeida’s first New York exhibition in almost five years. The first memory was of a podcast hosted by Charlotte Burns in 2017. Her guest was the artist, critic, and curator Robert Storr. In discussing his feelings about the terms globalism, cosmopolitanism, and internationalism, Storr stated: 

Modernisms started in different places at different times but many of them started in Brazil and the United States, roughly at the same time around 1913.

The other memory was of a conversation I had with the painter Leda Catunda, while I was researching her work for a two-person museum show in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both Catunda and de Almeida are Brazilian artists of the same generation (born in 1961 and 1964, respectively), living in São Paulo, which is the site of the second-oldest art biennial after the Venice Biennale. 

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