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

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


The New Yorker Calls Americas Society's Exhibition a "Beautiful Show"

By Johanna Fateman

"Bispo do Rosario’s taxonomic passion…is palpable throughout," wrote a critic in the Goings On About Town section.

This Afro-Brazilian visionary, born Arthur Bispo do Rosario, is best known for a piece that took him more than fifty years to complete: an ornately embroidered, tasselled cloak, which he planned to wear to meet God. Bispo do Rosario worked on his “annunciation garment” from 1938 until his death, in 1989, while living under confinement in a psychiatric hospital near Rio de Janeiro. The enigmatically hand-annotated cloak has pride of place in All Existing Materials on Earth—the first solo show in the United States devoted to his remarkable work. […] One wonderful room here is filled with two-sided estandartes (banners), suspended from the ceiling by dowels. Some are filled with lists of names; some index geometric forms; others refer to his life, pre-hospitalization, including a stint in the Navy. A display of sculptures includes arrangements of like things (shoes, cups), and also strange, molded facsimiles made of paper, wood, and wire, wrapped with blue thread salvaged from hospital-patient uniforms. Bispo do Rosario’s taxonomic passion—his relentless drive to make sense of the world—is palpable throughout this beautiful show. […]

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