The seminar “Propostas 66” was organized by the artist Waldemar Cordeiro (1925–73) and was held in the auditorium of the Biblioteca Municipal de São Paulo from December 12 through 15, 1966. The goal of the seminar was to discuss and evaluate the Brazilian movements associated with “new realism” and Pop Art, from the visual arts to the art of mass communications. A wide range of subjects was on the program over the course of the four nights. “Situação da vanguarda no Brasil” was the title of the final session, which was moderated by the modernist writer Cassiano Ricardo, accompanied by the set designer Flávio Império, with a panel that included the critic Frederico Morais and the artist Rubens Gerchman. In this article, Oiticica first proposed his idea for “nova objetividade;” interestingly, it would become the title of the important exhibition Nova Objetividade Brasileira presented the following year (1967) at MAM-Rio.
Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) was a Brazilian Neo-Concrete artist. He started studying painting with Ivan Serpa in 1954 at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. He later joined the Grupo Frente and the Neo-Concrete movement. In addition to his geometric paintings, which he worked on while he was studying with Serpa and was a member of the Grupo Frente, Oiticica produced performance and participatory art. His Parangolés (1964)—capes made with fabrics and recycled materials—were worn by the Mangueira Samba School during their performances. Oiticica also created immersive spaces, such as Nucleus (1959–60), which was an installation constructed from suspended painted wooden slats inspired by the Constructivism of Piet Mondrian. In 1967 Oiticica created the immersive environment Tropicália at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. Tropicália was an installation consisting of rooms with plants and materials such as water, sand and stones, a parrot, a television set, and various other elements that were representative of Brazilian popular culture. The environment was designed to promote sensory stimulation. Oiticica applied the same principles to Eden, the installation he created in 1969 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The name Tropicália was used by Brazilian musicians to describe a new style that combined international music and pop with traditional Brazilian music. The term “Tropicália” was absorbed into popular Brazilian culture and came to signify a uniquely Brazilian essence. In 1970 Oiticica took part in the group exhibition Information at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For more examples of Oiticica’s thoughts on Brazilian art in the late 1960s and early 1970s, see the essay “Esquema geral da nova objetividade” , and the article “Aparecimento do suprasensorial na arte brasileira” .
There was a proclamation on this matter spearheaded by the artist Antonio Dias. This manifesto, “Declaração de princípios básicos da vanguarda” , was a result of the intense debates held at the “Propostas 66” seminar mentioned above. Some years later, Frederico Morais discussed the transformations during those years in an article entitled “Arte brasileira, anos 70: o fim da vanguarda?” .