In 1949, Brazilian art critic Mário Barata—along with fellow critics such as Mário Pedrosa, Sérgio Milliet, and Antônio Bento—became a founding member of the Associação Brasileira de Críticos de Arte (ABCA), the Brazilian chapter of the Asociation Internationale des Critiques d’Art (AICA). Along with Pedrosa, he was one of the organizers of the Congreso Internacional Extraordinário de Críticos de Arte held in 1959 in the context of the construction of the new Brazilian capital city, Brasilia. In this lecture, Barata, who is well versed in the periods and concerns of Brazilian art, draws on his knowledge of traditional crafts, proposing a specific role for them even in the context of the industrial city.
The Congresso Internacional Extraordinário de Críticos de Arte took place in Brasilia, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, from September 17 to September 25, 1959. The theme of the event—“A cidade nova, síntese das artes”—was proposed by critic Mário Pedrosa. The lectures of the foreign critics and architects who participated in the congress generated debates about the production of art and architecture in Brazil. The summary of the congress’s seventh session entitled “Educação artística” included lectures by critics Herbert Read and A. Sartoris, architect and urban planner Lúcio Costa, as well as Brazilian artists Theon Spanudis and Fayga Ostrower. For further reading, see “A cidade nova, síntese das artes” (ICAA digital archive 1086503) and “Lições do congresso internacional dos críticos” (1086667), both by Mário Pedrosa.