The particularity of Brazil’s artistic field, including the market, is derived from its subtle amplification, which occurred right after the disastrous government of Collor de Mello. From then on, in Brazil, as in the case of many other countries, culture as a whole, and fine arts in particular, began to be seen as an excellent horizon of inversion of capital, which could attract solid profits. Thanks to federal, state and municipal laws of incentive made at the end of the eighties, according to which taxpayers can deduct part of their taxes by investing in culture, the artistic scene has been more and more dominated by so-called ‘cultural marketing’, professionals whose speciality consists in offering ‘cultural products’ to businesses, supposedly more in tune with their profile, and which the companies would sponsor through tax deduction - that is, with public money. This measure was decisive for the cultural environment as a whole, causing an abrupt increase in activities related to the visual arts. One consequence was the flourishing of museums and other non-profit contemporary art institutions. To give you an idea of what this means in numbers, this law will generate 50 million euros this year, just in the fine arts sector.
Along with the strengthening of historical institutions, such as the S?o Paulo Biennial Foundation and the Museum of Modern Art, the city of S?o Paulo received, in less that fifteen years, the new headquarters of PaÁo das Artes, as well as the foundation of the Ita? Cultural Centre, Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre, Moreira Sales Institute and more recently, in 2001, Tomie Ohtake Institute. In Rio de Janeiro, besides the consolidation of PaÁo Imperial as a contemporary art centre, there was also the foundation of Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, of Moreira Sales Institute and, in the neighbour city of Niter?i, of the Museum of Modern Art, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The Northeast of Brazil has been favoured with the creation of Drag?o do Mar Cultural Center in Fortaleza, and in Recife, with the renovation of the Alu‘sio Magalh?es Modern Art Museum. Lastly, in the south region, it is important to mention the opening of the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in 2002, in Curitiba, the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, and the inauguration, scheduled for this year, of Iber’ Camargo Museum, designed by the Portuguese architect ?lvaro Siza.
However, at the same time that the ‘cultural marketing’ politics has brought great benefits, it has also brought some remarkable deformations. The most important of them derives from the immaturity of the entrepreneurs, who are unconcerned about cultural problems, and at the same time eager for what it has to offer in terms of a greater public profile. In a country without tradition in investment in culture, whose entrepreneurs are eager to make a quick profit and see art strictly in terms of cost/benefit, ‘cultural marketing’, apart from a few exceptions, ends up interested almost exclusively in great names and huge events.
Nevertheless, all that and even the progressive international recognition of our artistic production, happens without the counterpart of national recognition. Even though the production from the fifties onward, as Sonia Salzstein correctly defends, is at the same level as Brazilian modern architecture (Oscar Niemeyer and associates) and Cinema Novo (lead by Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos), it is not capable of becoming ingrained within the social environment and a public dimension. The construction, so to speak, of the material proof of the recognition of our art history - that is, museums with complete collections submitted to critical reviews, oriented acquisitions and publications elaborated in the same pattern - still has not commenced. Time goes by and we are far from consolidating an institutional circuit able to give visibility to our artistic production, be it modern or contemporary.