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Learning from MadnessBrazilian Modernism and Global Contemporary Art$
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Kaira M. Cabañas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226556284

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226556314.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Common Creativities

Common Creativities

(p.47) 2 Common Creativities
Learning from Madness

Kaira M. Cabañas

University of Chicago Press

The understanding of a shared source of creativity among the sane and insane came to the fore with the exhibition and collection of patients’ work in both France and Brazil in the 1940s. The visual evidence of a common creativity was often underwritten by discussions of artistic quality and how the patients’ work looked “futurist” or “surrealist.” This chapter turns to 9 Artistas de Engenho de Dentro do Rio de Janeiro, an exhibition of the creative work of nine of Dr. Nise da Silveira’s patients. The exhibition opened at the Museum of Modern Art São Paulo in 1949, one year after the museum’s founding. The chapter examines how the patients’ work became key to the discourse of modernist abstraction and its institutionalization in Brazil, just as it was regularly exhibited in the very spaces of Brazil’s first modern museums. Such circumstances differ notably from French artist Jean Dubuffet’s contemporaneous theorization of art brut, which is also addressed in this chapter.

Keywords:   common creativity, art brut, Jean Dubuffet, psychopathological art, Nise da Silveira, art therapy, Collection de l’art brut, Lausanne, 9 Artistas de Engenho de Dentro do Rio de Janeiro, museum of modern art

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