Brazil’s moment in the art-world spotlight extends to Frieze New York

Amid the Brazilian art world’s prominent showing at the 60th Venice Biennale—whose central exhibition was curated for the first time by a Brazilian, Adriano Pedrosa, the artistic director of the São Paulo Museum of Art (Masp)—the country’s galleries are seizing the moment to assert and expand their presence in the global market. The past two editions of Frieze New York have both featured five Brazilian galleries, the highest number as a percentage of total exhibitors since the fair was launched in 2012. (In 2017, the fair had 11 participants from Brazil, though from a total of 201 exhibitors compared with this year’s 68.)

The financial burden—from shipping costs to export taxes—has made some Brazilian dealers hesitant to do foreign fairs in the past, but galleries are now opting to “disregard all the bureaucratic challenges and take the risk”, says Fernanda Resstom, the founder of Central Galeria, based in São Paulo.

Central is making its debut in the Focus section with the first US presentation of works by the Brazilian Indigenous painter Carmézia Emiliano, who launched Masp’s Indigenous Histories curatorial focus last year, a year-long series co-ordinated by Pedrosa. “I wanted to start placing our artists in international institutions, so I made the decision that I would only participate in the best fairs and that I would keep applying until we got in,” Resstom says.

Returning to Frieze New York for the second time, the Belo Horizonte-based Mitre Galeria is staging the first stateside presentation of works by Davi De Jesus Do Nascimento, who in 2020 and 2022 was nominated for the Pipa Prize, one of the leading contemporary art prizes in Brazil. Júlia Maria, the head of mediation and cultural production at Mitre, says that Frieze remains a “fundamental space for sales and an environment that promotes great visibility—especially in the Focus section”.

Some longtime Brazilian exhibitors are back this year, including the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro-based gallery Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel and the artist-run A Gentil Carioca. The latter will present works by Vivian Caccuri, who collaborated with Miles Greenberg on a 2022-23 show at the New Museum, and Laura Lima, who recently had a retrospective at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.

A Gentil Carioca will also present the first major US display of works by the Angolan artist Ana Silva, whose pieces appropriating raffia bags and dollies have been shown throughout Europe and Africa, including at the 1-54 Marrakech fair last year with the Paris-based Magnin-A.

Mendes Wood DM, another longtime Frieze New York participant, is the only Brazil-based exhibitor with a pied-à-terre in New York, having opened its Tribeca space in 2022. This year the gallery’s stand will feature a group presentation with the Brazilian artists Rosana Paulino and Antonio Obá, the French artist Pol Taburet and the Argentine artist Varda Caivano.