Lina Bo Bardi: Habitat is the first major retrospective of the life and work of multidisciplinary architect Lina Bo Bardi (Brazilian, b. Italy, 1914–1992), featuring drawings, photographs, original furniture, projects for the home and for museum curation and display, as well as theater designs. Bo Bardi is internationally recognized for the design of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) and the cultural center Sesc Pompéia in Brazil.
Born in Italy and relocating to Brazil after World War II, Lina Bo Bardi cofounded the influential magazine Habitat with her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, and developed an innovative design philosophy that combined popular art with fine art. Recognizing the inability of a Western modernist perspective to capture the complexities of Brazil, Bo Bardi drew inspiration from Brazil’s local habitat to create a new and unique design language.
The exhibition is divided into four main sections, exploring Bo Bardi’s beginnings in Italy and arrival to Brazil, the founding of Habitat, rethinking of museums, and culminating in an exploration of an alternative modernism that combines elements of European design and popular culture from the Northeast of Brazil.
It also features a selection of iconic works from MASP’s art collection installed on a re-created version of Bo Bardi’s original glass and concrete easels. This radical exhibition design liberates artworks from the wall and creates a dynamic viewing experience for visitors.
The exhibition is co-curated by Julieta González, former artistic director, Museo Jumex; José Esparza Chong Cuy, former Pamela Alper Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Tomás Toledo, chief curator, MASP. The MCA presentation is organized by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator.
Lina Bo Bardi: Habitat is designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo and is presented at the MCA in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum’s fourth floor.
Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris: Caryn and King Harris, Katherine Harris, Toni and Ron Paul, Pam Szokol, Linda and Bill Friend, and Stephanie and John Harris; Zell Family Foundation; and Cari and Michael Sacks.
Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein; Robert J. Buford; Gabriela and Ramiro Garza; Gael Neeson, Edlis-Nesson Foundation; and Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation.
Generous support is provided by Jana and Bernardo Hees; Barbara Bluhm-Kaul and Don Kaul; Liz and Eric Lefkofsky; Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation; The Loewenberg Charitable Foundation, Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Mark Tebbe; Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund; Lynn and Allen Turner; Dr. David Walega; the Forman Family; Juan Gabriel Moreno and Laura Flores; Jack and Sandra Guthman; Ashlee Jacob; Jon Lehman and Zach Huelsing; and Douglas and Yumi Ross.