Raul Mourão’s CAGE HEAD


Cage Head by Raul Mourão. Courtesy of the artist and Nara Roesler gallery (Image: Charles Roussel)

Raul Mourão’s CAGE HEAD

On view: through

Art at Americas Society is pleased to announce Raul Mourão’s CAGE HEAD (2022), on view March 20 through November 5, 2023 on the mall at East 68th Street and Park Avenue

With this sculpture, Mourão proposes a thoughtful intervention in the urban environment. The sculpture’s mass, making use of gravity as a physical force, invites the audience to reflect on movement and fixity, weight and lightness; the delicate balance that binds society together and the potential repercussions when pressure is exerted upon it. 

“[It's] a work about the necessity and the urgency of rational engagement,” Mourão explains, “A work about the importance of careful and responsible interactions.” Standing five meters tall and built from Corten steel—a material commonly found at construction sites around the city—CAGE HEAD “emphasizes the importance of reflecting upon what we build every day through our actions, opinions, and words," says Mourão.

CAGE HEAD is part of a series of sculptures that Mourão began in 2016 with the piece Empty head, home of the Devil. The scale of Empty head was developed to be in dialogue with the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture (MUBE) building in São Paulo, designed by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. 

Also on view at Americas Society is Mourão’s The New Brazilian Flag #3 (2018), which is being hung from the building’s exterior from January 24 through May 20, 2023. The flag is part of a series of works that the artist started in 2018. In the years since, Mourão has reconceived the flag’s formal structure, rethinking its shape and colors. The project was developed through twelve different configurations, using this incomplete flag as a base element, and was exhibited at solo and group exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and London. 

About the Artist 

Working across various media, including installation, sculpture, photography, video, drawing, and performance, Raul Mourão is a leading figure in the generation of artists that emerged onto Rio de Janeiro’s art scene in the nineties. Commenting on subjects from everyday life to political or social constructs, his work is permeated by a critical sense of humor and shaped by the urban space. Mourão’s visual vocabulary proposes displacements and redefinitions of familiar symbols and forms in contemporary society to encourage reflections on space, urbanism, and social mores. 

Mourão first began exhibiting in the mid-nineteen eighties. Towards the end of the decade, he started to investigate the symbology of architectural security elements in Rio’s urban landscape, such as window bars and fences. This resulted in a series titled ‘Grades,’ which included works in photography, video, sculpture, and installation. Beginning in 2010, the artist started to deconstruct the elements that comprised these imposing structures, leading him to create his first audience-activated kinetic sculptures. In these large-format, typically metal pieces, the artist establishes a formal language that evokes tensions while also seeking compositional balance. 

Recent solo exhibitions and projects include: Empty Head, Nara Roesler Gallery, New York (2021); Fora/Dentro, Museu da República (2018), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Você está aqui, Museu Brasileiro de Ecologia e Escultura (MuBE) (2016), São Paulo, Brazil; Please Touch, Bronx Museum (2015), New York, USA; and Tração animal, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio) (2012), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil among many others. Mourao’s works are in important international collections such as: Art Museum, Tempe, USA; Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (MAC-Niterói), Niterói, Brazil; Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


CAGE HEAD is commissioned by Americas Society and presented by the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program. Support by Nara Roesler gallery. 

Americas Society acknowledges the generous support from the Arts of the Americas Circle members: Estrellita B. Brodsky, Virginia Cowles Schroth, Emily A. Engel, Diana Fane, Galeria Almeida e Dale, Isabella Hutchinson, Carolina Jannicelli, Vivian Pfeiffer, Phillips, Gabriela Pérez Rocchietti, Erica Roberts, Sharon Schultz, Diana López and Herman Sifontes, and Edward J. Sullivan.