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Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Works of art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean range from ancient cultures to cutting-edge artists of today. Among the highlights are the Glassell Collection of Pre-Columbian Gold and the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art by Latin American and Latino artists.

© “The World of Lygia Clark" Cultural Association
Brazilian, 1920 - 1988
Bicho (Máquina)
Critter (Machine)
Gilded metal with hinges

(variable): 21 x 35 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (53.3 x 90.2 x 54.6 cm)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund

Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art

The Bichos represent the last stage of Lygia Clarks's geometric research that, since the 1950s, had been involved with a systematic deconstruction of traditional painting into its key elements: line, plane, and surface. These components were crucial to the Neo-Concrete movement she developed with Hélio Oiticica, Willys de Castro, Hércules Barsotti, and others in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In Neo-Concretismo, the object itself is progressively negated, in favor of the the body and the community, by and large, as kernels of a happening, a rite, or an action. The artist named them Bichos because of their fundamentally organic character. In addition, the hinge that connects the planes reminded the artist of a spinal column. More important, the Bicho has no reverse, no other side. The layout of the metal planes determines the position of the "critter," which at first sight seems limitless. Here, 10 semicircles and 13 triangles connect by hinges in order for the object to take on various shapes.

Related ICAA documents:
Guy Brett, [Letter to Adolpho Leirner], 1988 (record ID 1232349)
Guy Brett, “Lygia Clark: In Search of the Body,” 1994 (record ID 1232526)
Jean Clay, “Lygia Clark: Ongoing Fusion — 1968,” 1992 (record ID 1232614)
Jayme Mauricio, II Brasile: Alla XXXIV Biennale Di Venezia, exh. cat., 1968 (record ID 1232444)
David Medalla, ed., “Lygia Clark at Signals London, 27th May to 3rd July,” 1965 (record ID 1232662)