Researching the Sao Paulo Biennal

Isobel Whitelegg, Lecturer and Co-Programme Director of our MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies programme, has just returned from a research trip to São Paulo, Brazil. 

With support from Santander and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Isobel spent two weeks in one of her favourite places, the archives of the São Paulo Biennial

In collaboration with art historian and curator Vinicius Spricigo (Federal University of São Paulo), Isobel organised a seminar with a group of Brazilian scholars – each of whom is researching a different aspects of this biennial’s complex history. Founded in 1951, São Paulo’s biennial was the second to come into existence, and the first to take place in Latin America. It has had a powerful effect on the history of art and the innovation of the biennial model. Having survived even the most repressive years of Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), it also remains a vital public space - housed within the fluid open space of an Oscar Niemeyer designed pavilion, and located within the city’s much-loved Ibirapuera Park.