Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography and the Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante, 1946–1964

Museum of Modern Art. Apr. 2021. 184p. ed. by ed. by Sarah Hermanson Meister. ISBN 9781633450844. $45. PHOTOG
This catalogue, for an exhibition of the same name at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), explores the topic of the Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB), a Brazilian society of serious amateur photographers, founded in 1939. Work by one of the club members became the first photograph by a Brazilian artist to enter MoMA’s collection. The FCCB had a distinct amateur identity that distinguished the club from the ranks of professional photographers working in Brazil and elsewhere. FCCB members sought to understand and articulate what makes a good photograph, and their work entered into global dialogue via international salons. MOMA curator Meister explores an aspect of Brazil’s contribution to the history of postwar photography, and tackles the subject of geographic bias in art history: how to bring overlooked regions into MOMA’s curatorship. She also explores curatorial biases about amateur photography, and how to distinguish images worthy of attention from the flood of photographs produced every day. Black-and-white plates are grouped thematically (e.g., architecture, abstractions, everyday scenes) based on subjects assigned to club members as monthly contests. Includes an annotated and illustrated chronology of the bulletin published by the club.
VERDICT For serious students of Brazilian and Latin American mid-20th-century art.
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