Between Acts 1964/68 inaugurates a series of three exhibitions, which intends to investigate the making of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo, having as its main focus Brazilian art produced in the context of military dictatorship (1964-1985). The exhibitions will cover different moments of this period: 1964-1968; 1969-1974 and 1975-1985. They will contain two crucial decades in the recent history of the country, about which a lot still has to been considered, especially in the field of artistic institutions. In a broader sense, our goal is to contribute to the understanding of the role played by public art museums under the military regime, and to understand the legacy of realized exhibitions and collections gathered under those conditions. In this first exhibition, we ask how the making of the collection of contemporary art of MAC USP was effectively possible, under military dictatorship. Is there a particular trait to identify in the set of works collected in the Museum between the military coup d’état in 1964, and the recrudescence of the regime with the publication of Act no. 5, in 1968? What kind of reading of the works can we have when projecting the chronological marks of the military dictatorship on the Museum’s collection? With the intent of indicating the aesthetic debates during that period, we organized the exhibition into three large groups. Figure, gesture and plan are deliberately open terms, which aim at guiding the visitor without making him/her use the rigid classifications already consolidated in Art History. This is to emphasize a contextual approach to the collection of MAC USP, while seeing the art work as a document of civilization able to reveal the spirit of its own time. It is, then, more important to read in between the lines the vestiges that they may bare of the power relations established in and outside art system, than to look for explicit marks of political engagement in them. The series of exhibitions starting here builds a critical gaze on a public collection, trying to understand what has been kept from our artistic and cultural memory. We take the Museum as an institutional frame that makes art a display of revelation and/or occultation of a turbulent period of national life, still to be researched and better acknowledged.

Cristina Freire
Helouise Costa
Ana Magalhães
Department of Research in Art, Theory and Critique – MAC USP