Programming & Events for Helio Oiticica

Programming & Events for “Hélio Oiticica”

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | | 412.688.8690 / 412.216.7909

Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces events and programming for Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, the most complete US presentation to date of this important Brazilian artist. Programming is far-ranging, with offerings for art lovers, gourmands, and curious passers-by alike. They include a film screening with director César Oiticica Filho, the return of our culturally immersive FEAST featuring São Paulo chef Ana Luiza Trajano, an evening of music and conversation with MCG Jazz, classes, tours, talks, and late-night Third Thursday activities.

Oiticica revolutionized the idea of interactive art. His work moves from vibrant geometric paintings to total environments suffused with color, texture, and tactile materials. Co-organized by CMOA, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Hélio Oiticica is the first exhibition in more than two decades to show the full reach of Oiticica’s career.

The exhibition premieres October 1, 2016, at CMOA.

A selection of high-resolution images is available. Please contact Jonathan Gaugler for access.

Preview the exhibition
Get a first look at this major touring exhibition with co-curator, and CMOA director, Lynn Zelevansky.
Friday, September 30, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Please contact Jonathan Gaugler to RSVP: | 412.688.8690


Register for events at, or call 412.622.3288

Hélio Oiticica, "Filter Project—For Vergara (Projeto Filtro—Para Vergara)," 1972, nylon, acrylic, plastic curtains, natural fiber doormat, television set, tape recorders, transistor radio, buzzer, orange juice machine, fluorescent lamps, and fiberboard, (c) Projeto Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro. Courtesy Projeto Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro and Galerie Lelong, New York

Hélio Oiticica, “Filter Project—For Vergara (Projeto Filtro—Para Vergara),” 1972, nylon, acrylic, plastic curtains, natural fiber doormat, television set, tape recorders, transistor radio, buzzer, orange juice machine, fluorescent lamps, and fiberboard, (c) Projeto Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro. Courtesy Projeto Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro and Galerie Lelong, New York

Film Screening and Conversation: Hélio Oiticica
Saturday, October 1, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
Lynn Zelevansky with César Oiticica Filho
CMOA Theater; Free, but seating is limited
Portuguese with English subtitles; 94 min.

“…I discovered around fifteen rolls of Super 8 film. I was impressed that they were still unknown, as he was one of the greatest artists of the second half of the twentieth century. At that moment I had the sensation that, together with the cassette tapes…one would be able to see through the eyes of the artist and hear his inner thoughts.” –César Oiticica Filho

This striking documentary, crafted from rare found-footage, creates an experience analogous to Oiticica’s sensual, dynamic art practice. Exhibition curator and CMOA director Lynn Zelevansky joins film director César Oiticica Filho, the artist’s nephew, in conversation about the art and ideas of this compelling artist, as seen through his own words and images.

Third Thursday: EDEN
Thursday, October 20, 8–11 p.m.
$10 ($8 members, $5 students)

Celebrate Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium after hours, with activities inspired by the artist’s practice.

Samba in Braddock
Saturday, October 29, 1–4 p.m.
Braddock Carnegie Library; Free

The Pittsburgh Samba Group and Timbeleza bring the lively dance and sounds of Brazil to Braddock for a family-friendly multisensory experience! Try out Parangolés—Oiticica’s colorful fabric capes, works of art that can be carried or worn—and get inspired for art-making, dancing, and fun!

FEAST: Oiticica
With Brazilian chef Ana Luiz Trajano
November 4, 2016
6 p.m., $200, $175 members

FEAST celebrates art through culinary adventures. Each FEAST takes its cues from art on view at the museum for a completely unique, one-night-only immersive cultural experience. FEAST: Oiticica welcomes chef Ana Luiza Trajano of São Paulo’s acclaimed Brasil a Gosto, which “unloads an avalanche of flavors and textures and experiences without intimidating” (The New York Times).

Chef Trajano champions traditional cooking with recipes gathered from throughout Brazil during her extensive travel researching indigenous ingredients and methods. Both Oiticica and Trajano share a penchant for “cultural cannibalism”—consuming global influences and reinventing them in a distinctly Brazilian setting.

Through Adversity We Live
An Evening of Brazilian Music and Conversation with MCG Jazz & Special Guests
Friday, November 11, 7:30–9 p.m.
Carnegie Music Hall
$35 ($30 members, $25 students)

CMOA and MCG Jazz bring together Brazilian musicians and composers for an evening shifting between the electrifying music and the fascinating stories tying together the art, music, and politics of Hélio Oiticica’s Brazil. Bassist Nilson Matta, guitarist/vocalist Chico Pinheiro, composer Flavio Chamis, percussionist Lucas Ashby, professor Jay Ashby, and MCG Jazz executive producer Marty Ashby join Hélio Oiticica curator Lynn Zelevansky and associate curator Katherine Brodbeck.

Brazilian culture was radically transformed by exchanges between Rio’s vibrant street life and Oiticica’s art practice. Oiticica was no stranger to stirring political controversy, especially after a military dictatorship took power in Brazil. His large, colorful installation Tropicália coined the name of a popular music movement, evoking the colors and sounds of Brazil while subtly protesting political repression. When musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil hung Oiticica’s provocative banner reading “Be an Outlaw, Be a Hero” at a 1968 performance, they were arrested, and later deported. Taking its name from a poetic message hidden in one of Oiticica’s artworks, Through Adversity We Live is a can’t miss musical journey through this turbulent time.

Art History
Art/Culture/Politics: Oiticica’s Brazil
Wednesdays, November 9 + 16, or Saturdays, November 12 + 19, 10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
$50 ($40 members, $30 students)

Exhibition co-curator Katherine Brodbeck and University of Pittsburgh PhD candidate Paulina Pardo team up to explore the politically charged and artistically imaginative climate of Brazil from mid-century through the early ’80s.

Morphology in the Studio: Conversations about the Science of Art
Saturday, December 10, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
CMOA Theater, CMOA and CMNH galleries; Free

“I believe that the taxonomic system Oiticica learned at the Museu Nacional provided the conceptual basis for the biological, organic, framework of his oeuvre and for what the artist would later term his program-in-progress.”
–Irene Small, Contemporary Art and Criticism, Princeton University, and author of Morphology in the Studio: Hélio Oiticica at the Museu Nacional

The natural world has long been an inspiration to artists, from direct visual representations to ideologies of taxonomy. For Oiticica, his interest began at home, working for his famous entomologist father José Oiticica Filho at the Museu Nacional, and would inform his lifelong art practice.

Join professor Irene Small and CMNH scientists John Rawlins, Jose Padial, and Steve Tonsor for a lively discussion on the relationships among the natural sciences and contemporary art. Then venture out into the galleries and behind the scenes for one-on-one conversations with the presenters, exhibition curator Lynn Zelevansky and associate curator Katherine Brodbeck, and other artists and scientists for whom this cross-disciplinary approach is their way of navigating the world.

Gallery Ambassadors and Let’s Chat Docents
Gallery Ambassadors will be present all open hours at several locations throughout the exhibition to help visitors engage with the artwork—interactions that are crucial to Oiticica’s art practice.

Hélio Oiticica in front of a poster for the play Prisoner of Second Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, 1972. © César and Claudio Oiticica

Hélio Oiticica in front of a poster for the play Prisoner of Second Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, 1972. © César and Claudio Oiticica

About the Exhibition

Visitors to Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at CMOA can expect to walk across sand and pebbles, traverse bold, colorful structures, and say hello to a friendly Amazon parrot. That’s part of the experience of Tropicália (1966–67), a massive, multisensory installation at the heart of the exhibition. If Tropicália is a kind of journey into the artist’s immersive work, then Eden (1969) is the destination. This huge installation includes spaces and structures for relaxation, reading, conversation, and music. Its surfaces provide tactile experiences for bare feet: strewn with sand or leaves, a pool of water. Occupying the majestic Hall of Sculpture at CMOA, it is rarely staged due to its size and complexity. Ambitious in scale, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium presents a stunning array of paintings, interactive sculptures, audiovisual works, and environments across the museum’s expansive Heinz Galleries and Hall of Sculpture.

One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Oiticica (1937–1980) first painted compositions made of geometric shapes that seemed to dance off the painted surface. He soon moved into creating immersive, experiential works, exploding color into three dimensions. His art intertwined with rock music, popular culture, politics, and communities. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Oiticica moved further and further toward art that is intended for the viewer to manipulate, wear, and inhabit, including Parangolés, works to be carried or worn, or Penetrables, colorful structures inspired by makeshift dwellings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. While living in New York, Oiticica extended his work into filmmaking, slide show environments, and concrete poetry.

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Preview access is available; please contact Jonathan Gaugler:

Helio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium
Lynn Zelevansky, Elisabeth Sussman, James Rondeau, and Donna De Salvo
with Anna Katherine Brodbeck

With contributions by Martha Scott Burton, Fred Coelho, Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Sérgio B. Martins, Adele Nelson, Irene V. Small, and Guilherme Wisnik

320 pages with 310 color illustrations
8 3/4 x 11 in. / 22.2 x 27.9 cm
Hardcover: ISBN 978-3-7913-6659-3
Softcover: ISBN 978-3-7913-6660-9
DelMonico Books · Prestel

Hélio Oiticica is organized by Lynn Zelevansky, Henry J. Heinz II Director, Carnegie Museum of Art; Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art; James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director, The Art Institute of Chicago; and Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; with Anna Katherine Brodbeck, associate curator, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Tour Schedule
Carnegie Museum of Art, October 1, 2016–January 2, 2017
The Art Institute, Chicago, February 19–May 7, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art, July 14–October 1, 2017

Support for Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is generously provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art Fellows, the James H. and Idamae B. Rich Exhibition Endowment Fund, Nancy and Woody Ostrow, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, the Martin G. McGuinn Art Exhibition Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jana and Bernardo Hees, Anonymous, and Simone and Greg Lignelli.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. The programs of the Heinz Architectural Center are made possible by the generosity of the Drue Heinz Trust. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
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