“Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection”

Maurício Nogueira Lima’s Objeto rítmico no. 2 (segunda versão) reminds us of one of those visual illusions on the side of cereal boxes. Black and yellow boxes are swirled together by a series of circular lines…or are they?

Mari Carmen Ramirez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, says there are no circles in the painting. Lima painted different-size squares and rectangles side-by-side to give the appearance of a vortex.

The work is just one of many on view in “Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection” that trick the eye and engage the mind. Waldemar Cordeiro’s painting Idéia visível features black lines intersecting over a white background; it’s up to the viewer to determine whether they’re pointing up, down or neither. Other visually stimulating works include Lygia Clark’s Trepante, a shiny hunk of metal wound around a piece of wood, and Abraham Palatnik’s Aparelho cinecromático, a shadowy box featuring rods, balls and blades moving about, thanks to a small motor, in front of colored lights and behind a translucent canvas.
May 20-Sept. 9

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