Marian Goodman, the Grande Dame of Art Dealers, Takes on Brazil

In 1977, hard-pressed to secure a New York City gallery to welcome Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers, Marian Goodman saw her personal calling; the artist’s first U.S. exhibition opened at the newly born, eponymous Marian Goodman Gallery. Today, Goodman is one of the world’s most influential dealers—named the “undisputed grande dame of art dealers” by Forbes when they announced her among America’s top ten, and “too-good-to-be-true Goodman” by ArtReview when slotting her at number 14 on the ever-coveted art world Power 100 list. Could it be her gallery’s roster, filled with heavyweights like Maurizio Cattelan, Jeff Wall, Gerhard Richter, John Baldessari, and Thomas Struth? Sure. But Goodman’s prestige demands a better explanation: since the first show in ’77, she’s been revolutionary in introducing European artists to American audiences and generally, artists to audiences worldwide. Next week, Goodman’s inaugural booth at São Paulo’s SP-Arte fair is no exception.
As of late, Brazilian artists have been cropping up in exhibitions worldwide—think Cildo Meireles at the Reina-Sofia, Mira Schendel at the Tate Modern, and soon, Lygia Clark at MoMA—and holding court at art fairs, like Art Basel in Miami Beach. On home soil, a countdown for the fall’s 31st São Paulo Biennial is underway, and this week, dealers pack for SP-Arte and arrive by the dozen in South America. Among them, Goodman (whose artist Tino Sehgal has concurrent shows at Rio de Janeiro’s Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil and São Paulo’s Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo) seized an opportunity to look closely at Brazil and its importance within the global art scene.
At the Goodman booth, artists’ ties to Brazil are both subtle and frank: there’s Giuseppe Penone, known for his bronze-cast tree trunk sculpture at Brazil’s Instituto Inhotim and who’s planning a solo exhibition at the Casa França-Brasil in 2015; or Rineke Dijkstra, whose photographs of wide-eyed Portuguese bullfighters, post-combat, were taken in the country’s motherland. Three artists are shown on the heels of exhibitions in Brazil, including William Kentridge, whose recent show skipped from Porto Alegre to Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo; Tacita Dean, who had a solo show in Rio last year, and Christian Boltanski, who will soon follow up on his 2012 exhibition in Rio with a solo show at the SESC-Pompéia in São Paulo. There’s more—Goodman shows a photograph by Thomas Struth, who’s brought his camera on extensive trips to the rainforests of Brazil (though the one on view was taken in South Korea) and works on paper by Gabriel Orozco, the Mexican artist who took one of his best-known photographs, Crazy Tourist, at a marketplace in early ’90s Brazil. See the rest for yourself at Marian Goodman’s booth at SP-Arte.