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Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth at Americas Society, January 25 – May 20, 2023

“Americas Society presents Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth, the first solo exhibition in the United States of Afro-Brazilian artist Arthur Bispo do Rosario (b. 1909, Japaratuba, Brazil, d. 1989, Rio de Janeiro)—known as ‘Bispo.’ During his career, Bispo created more than 1,000 artwork objects from Colônia Juliano Moreira, a psychiatric institution in Rio de Janeiro where he lived most of his life.

Bispo do Rosario was born in Japaratuba, Brazil in 1909. A descendant of slaves, he spent his youth working as a servant and a housekeeper and later served in the Brazilian navy, which discharged him for insubordination. In 1938, Bispo had a series of hallucinations that made him believe he had been sent by God on a mission to recreate the universe. After he was diagnosed with schizophrenic paranoia, he was arrested and sent to the Colônia Juliano Moreira psychiatric institution in Rio de Janeiro, where he spent the rest of his life. Much of his work reflects the African folk arts of his native region and his Christian faith.

Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth compiles Bispo do Rosario’s iconic artworks, which include hand-embroidered textiles with attached elements, mixed-media sculptures, and his ‘Annunciation Garment,’ his best-known artwork, which he intended to wear on Judgment Day.” — Americas Society  

Untitled [Manto da apresentação (Annunciation garment)], n.d. Fabric, thread, ink, found materials, fiber. 46 5⁄8 × 55 5⁄8 × 2 ¾ inches Above: front view. × 141.2 × 7 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Eu vi Cristo (I saw Christ)], n.d. Fabric, thread, plastic, metal, ink, found materials. 30 × 25 ½ × ¾ inches (76 × 65 × 2 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Asdrubal de Moraes], n.d. Fabric, paper, thread. 24 3⁄8 × 16 ½ × ¾ inches (62 × 42 × 2 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Carrossel (Carousel)], n.d. Wood, fabric, plastic, thread, fiber, metal, synthetic leather, ink, found materials. 22 ¾ × 21 ¼ × 21 ¼ inches (58 × 54 × 54 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Capa protetora (Protective cover)], n.d. Plastic, ink, thread. 19 ¼ × 23 ¼ × ¼ inches (49 × 59 × 1 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Grande Veleiro (Big sailboat)], n.d. Wood, plastic, fabric, foam, metal, ink, graphite, paper, found materials, thread, fiber, nylon. 46 ½ × 62 ¼ × 25 ½ inches (118 × 158 × 65 cm). Photo: Alex Motta
Untitled [Cinco cetros (Five scepters)], n.d. Wood, fabric, thread, plastic, paper, metal, ink, fiber, found materials, unidentified material. 42 ½ × 28 × 9 ¾ inches (108 × 71 × 25 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Miss Brasil (Miss Brazil)], n.d. Fabric, thread, ink, unidentified material, metal. 24 × 4 ¾ inches (61 × 12 cm). Photo: Rodrigo Lopes
Untitled [Sandálias e peneiras (Sandals and sieves)], n.d. Wood, rubber, plastic, fiber, animal leather, thread, paper, metal, synthetic leather, laminate, ink, found materials. 43 ¼ × 22 × 2 ¼ inches (110 × 56 × 6 cm). Photo: Rafael Adorjan
Untitled [Carrinho Arquivo (Cart file)], n.d. Wood, paper, plastic, thread, dung, ink, manufactured object, ink. 37 3⁄8 × 35 3⁄8 × 21 5⁄8 inches (95 × 90 × 55 cm). Photo: Fernando Texeira

“His commitment to his craft was the result of a mandate, an offering, and a mission to replicate, catalogue, and organize the world around him,” said the exhibition curatorial team. “His endless activity helped him to survive the hardships of many years of psychiatric institutionalization.”

Exhibition was co-curated by Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Ricardo Resende, and Javier Téllez, with Tie Jojima, the exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Museu Bispo do Rosario Arte Contemporânea in Rio de Janeiro.

Images courtesy Americas Society.

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