Exhibit/Counter-Exhibit: Lina Bo Bardi and Resistance
In 1959, Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi and Brazilian playwright Martim Gonçalves designed and curated Bahia no Ibirapuera (Bahia in Ibirapuera) in the context of the São Paulo Biennial. This larger event was staged as a celebration of Brazil’s modernity, with a global selection of abstract art works housed in a building designed by the architect of the state. Countering this triumphal narrative, Bo Bardi and Gonçalves presented everyday artifacts of the northeastern state of Bahia as markers of active, popular agency. The exhibition was a provocation to the biennial, and a contrast, in both form and content, to the prior trajectory of the Italian architect. While recent celebrations of Bo Bardi’s life and work have elided these contradictions and their motivations, this presentation examines them in order to complicate the architect’s narrative and present her practice, and the practice of architecture and scholarship at large, as a series of political choices.
Ana María León
Ana María León is an architect and a historian of objects, buildings, and landscapes. Her research and teaching examines the modernity of the Americas and its transcontinental flows, with particular focus on spatial practices and discourses of power and resistance. She is Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan and holds a PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture from MIT. León is an active member of several collaborations laboring to broaden the reach of architectural history including FAAC, GAHTC, the Settler Colonial City Project, and Nuestro Norte es el Sur.