Try to define “art.” Think beyond typical words that come to mind. Think creative use of shapes, color, scenery, structures or materials. Then head over to the Art Institute of Chicago to see ‘Helio Oiticia: To Organize Delirium.’
At ‘Helio Oiticia,’ at the museum now through May 7, 2017, you not only see the famed Brazilian artist’s definition, you experience it. Be prepared to take off your shoes.
When you first walk into the Regenstein Hall you see Oiticia’s fondness for shapes and color. Then you find his actions and reactions to his country’s political upheavals and social issues.
But after exploring his large, room-like installations, his sandy beach complete with live, colorful birds and his dark room with a bouncy floor, you see that during Oiticia’s short life (1937-80) he liked to physically share his view of the world.
You will not be a mere viewer of the Art Institute’s show because Oiticia wants you to be a participant.
His “Spatial Reliefs” are hanging structures. “Nuclei” are suspended panels. His famed “Tropicália,” a large installation of sand, birds and foliage done in 1967 contrasts tropical images with what was really going on under Brazil’s dictatorship.
Organized by the Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, ‘Helio Oiticia: To Organize Delirium’ is a fascinating retrospective worth seeing and discussing.
The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603. For other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC.