In a context of social and political upheaval the year after the military coup, Ceres Franco and Jean Boghici prepared a big exhibition of Brazilian and foreign artists – Argentineans and Europeans – to showcase a set of works that indicated a new global trend for realism in the arts. The title, Opinião 65 (Opinion 65), demonstrated the plural nature of the exhibition and a desire to give a voice to young people, who for the first time in history were taking the lead in what was going on.
This was the first time artists from the “movement” later known as new Brazilian figuration were brought together. The idea behind this return to figuration was to communicate directly with the public. There was also a new kind of participation that differed from the more sensory communication used by the neo-concretists, taking on more anthropological and social overtones. This happened partly in response to the curtailment of political freedoms, but also because of a more fluid cross-pollination between poetics and popular culture. The curators offset these young artists’ work against that of some of their main influences, like Wesley and Berni, from Argentina, as well as some leading figures from Brazilian concretism in a new phase, like Serpa and Oiticica.
Opinion 65 already inhabits the collective unconscious of recent cultural history. In an attempt to retell this chapter of our history to younger generations while paying tribute to the curators and artists that took part in that moment, MAM-Rio – where it all took place – and Pinakotheke Cultural have resolved to join forces in this enterprise. Here at MAM, we will focus on the Brazilian artists who took part in the exhibition, while also displaying archive material and footage about the exhibition – reviews, images, films, and interviews.