Hélio Oiticica in front of a poster for the play Prisoner of Second Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, 1972, Facsimile of photograph, César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

Heinz Galleries

The first comprehensive US retrospective of the influential Brazilian artist.

Carnegie Museum of Art presents Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, the first comprehensive US retrospective of the influential Brazilian artist (1937–1980). Ranging from beautifully balanced geometric paintings to immersive, interactive environments, Oiticica’s work is visually arresting, wholly original, and seeks to build a participatory relationship with audiences. The exhibition is co-organized by CMOA, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Installed in CMOA’s Heinz Galleries and expanding into its Hall of Sculpture, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium moves from the artist’s two-dimensional works, including Metaesquemas, geometric abstract paintings in bold colors that are so alive with incipient movement that they seem to struggle against the grid that supports them, into his explorations of color and form in three-dimensional space, in which the Metaesquemas’ geometric shapes take to the air. His Penetrables are colorful structures inspired by makeshift dwellings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro that can be traversed by viewers. Parangolés, works in fabric that can be carried or worn, were originally made for the samba dancers in the Mangueira favela. The poetic or political messages that they often carry, buried within their layers of cloth, could be read only when the dancer was in motion. In addition to original works on display, exhibition copies invite visitors to wear and manipulate the artist’s interactive works.

The massive installation Eden, installed in the Hall of Sculpture at the heart of the museum, is Oiticica’s most ambitious. This huge work includes spaces designed to engage the senses and promote creative thought, tents for sleeping or listening to music, and beds filled with straw for relaxation or light reading. Because of its size, it is rarely presented.

The first exhibition to explore in depth the artist’s New York years (1970–1978) and his return to Rio (1978–1980), Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium invites a reconsideration of an internationally recognized, yet too-rarely encountered artist.


Exhibition Images

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley

Installation view, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, at Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Bryan Conley


Exhibition Credits

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is organized by Lynn Zelevansky, The Henry J. Heinz II Director, Carnegie Museum of Art; Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art; James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director, The Art Institute of Chicago; and Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; with Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Associate Curator, Carnegie Museum of Art.