Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Whitney Museum of American Art, July 14 – October 1, 2017

“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the first full-scale U.S. retrospective in two decades of the Brazilian artist’s work. One of the most original artists of the twentieth century, Oiticica (1937—1980) made art that awakens us to our bodies, our senses, our feelings about being in the world: art that challenges us to assume a more active role. Beginning with geometric investigations in painting and drawing, Oiticica soon shifted to sculpture, architectural installations, writing, film, and large-scale environments of an increasingly immersive nature, works that transformed the viewer from a spectator into an active participant. The exhibition includes some of his large-scale installations, including Tropicalia and Eden, and examines the artist’s involvement with music and literature, as well as his response to politics and the social environment. The show captures the excitement, complexity, and activist nature of Oiticica’s art, focusing in particular on the decisive period he spent in New York in the 1970s, where he was stimulated by the art, music, poetry, and theater scenes. While Oiticica engaged at first with many of the city’s artists, he ended up living in self-fashioned isolation before returning to Brazil. He died in in Rio de Janeiro, in 1980, at the age of 42.” — Whitney Museum

Hanging sculptures, left to right: P58 Spatial Relief, Red (P58 Relevo especial, vermêlho), 1960 by Hélio Oiticica; P52 Spatial Relief (P52 Relevo especial), 1960 by Hélio Oiticica; NC6 Medium Nucleus 3 (NC6 Núcleo médio 3), 1961-63 by Hélio Oiticica. Photograph by Matt Casarella

Hélio Oiticica, Metaesquema, Malekledrian, 1958. Gouache on cardboard, 9 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (24.76 x 15.88 cm). The Ortiz Family. Photograph by Joseph Hu

Hélio Oiticica, Metaesquema 362, 1958. Gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (49.53 x 66.67 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Edward N. Haskell Family Acquisition Fund and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund

Detail of PN27 Penetrable, Rijanviera, 1979 by Hélio Oiticica. Photograph by Matt Casarella

Hélio Oiticica, Metaesquema 4066, 1958. Gouache on cardboard, 21 x 22 7/8 in. (53.3 x 58.1 cm). Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gift of the Oiticica family. © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

Center: NC6 Medium Nucleus 3 (NC6 Núcleo médio 3), 1961-63 by Hélio Oiticica. Photograph by Matt Casarella

Hélio Oiticica, P15 Parangolé Cape 11, I Embody Revolt (P15 Parangolé Capa 12, Eu Incorporo a Revolta) worn by Nildo of Mangueira, 1967. Courtesy of César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica. Photograph by Claudio Oiticica

Detail of Tropicália, 1966-67 by Hélio Oiticica; center: PN2 Penetrable, Purity is a Myth (PN2 Penetrável, A pureza é um mito, 1966 by Hélio Oiticica. Photograph by Matt Casarella

Hélio Oiticica in front of a poster for Neil Simon’s play The Prisoner of Second Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, 1972. © César and Claudio Oiticica

Hélio Oiticica, P31 Parangolé Cape 24, Escrerbuto (P31 Parangolé Capa 24, Escrerbuto) worn by Omar Salomão, 1972. Nylon mesh fabric and plastic vinyl, 38 ½ x 33 in. (97.79 x 84.58 cm). Courtesy of the Ortiz Family. © César and Claudio Oiticica

Parangolé Cape 30 in the New York City Subway, 1972. Digital projection, dimensions variable. Courtesy of César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Miguel Rio Branco, Babylonests, 1971. Digital projection, dimensions variable. Courtesy of César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro.

Hélio Oiticica. Installation view. CC5 Hendrix-War,1973. Thirty-three 35mm color slides transferred to digital slideshow, sound, and hammocks. Site Specific Collections of César and Claudio Oiticica and Neville D’Almeida. Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Photograph by Oto Gillen

Installation view, Bólides and Life and Politics by Hélio Oiticica. Photograph by Matt Casarella

This exhibition is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is curated by Lynn Zelevansky, Henry J. Heinz II Director, Carnegie Museum of Art; Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art; James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director, 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.

Images courtesy Whitney Museum.