Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth at Americas Society . (Image Arturo Sanchez)

Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth at Americas Society . (Image Arturo Sanchez)


Forbes Describes Americas Society Show as "Vibrant New Exhibition"

By Jonathon Keats

"The artistry of Bispo’s work is beyond dispute," writes the publication about Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth.

Arthur Bispo do Rosario seldom slept. All day long he worked to replicate every object in the universe, fabricated out of commonplace materials such as cardboard and thread. And at night, when he shut his eyes, he was visited by angels who told him what he must make next. Bispo do Rosario was no ordinary man.

Although the Americas Society classifies him as an artist – exhibiting the objects he made in a vibrant new exhibition – Bispo was certain from an early age that he was Jesus Christ. On Christmas Eve of 1938, he presented himself at a Benedictine monastery in Rio di Janeiro, explaining that he had come to judge the living and the dead.

Instead he was arrested, and judged clinically insane. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and lacking financial resources, Bispo was incarcerated in mental institutions for the remaining fifty years of his life. He treated these institutions as makeshift workshops, relentlessly pursuing the mission confided in him by angels. He embroidered old bedsheets with thread salvaged from the uniforms of former inmates, embellishing the stained fabric with all he knew about human anatomy and the contours of every ship he’d seen as a signalman in the Brazilian Navy.

Other objects were fabricated in the round by wrapping thread around scavenged metal or wood: a bow and arrow, a paint roller, a shoehorn, a cattle brand. All were readily identifiable, if not by the shape then by the neatly embroidered label. [...]

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