Tamar Guimarães b. 1967, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Digital color video, with sound, transferred from 16 mm film, 13 min., 30 sec.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2014
In this video, Guimarães stages a cocktail party in Casa das Canoas, the iconic home that architect Oscar Niemeyer designed for himself in Rio de Janeiro between 1951 and 1953. The apparent frivolity of the party is tempered by several more serious vignettes in which guests discuss Brazil’s past in terms of the relationship between modernity and social housing, political dictatorship and artistic exile. Yet these concerns strike a contradictory note in the party’s bourgeois context, a disparity that is underscored by the discreet presence of servants and waiters—despite the artistic and political idealism represented by Niemeyer’s modernist design, the reality of social stratification remains a part of Brazilian culture.