There wasn’t much in the way of art that Roberto Burle Marx couldn’t do. He was a painter, print-maker, sculptor, stage designer, jeweler, musician, tapestry-maker and one of the leading landscape architects in the 20th century. Marx’s passion for art, in all forms, strengthened his ability to design landscapes.
Roberto Burle Marx
At any given moment when walking through Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist at the Jewish Museum in New York, one may hear a soft rushing of waves, mixed with the murmur of an open-air crowd. A narration in Portuguese, both spoken and sung, will drift breezily in and out. This is the soundscape of Plages, a 2001 video by artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Shot from an aerial perspective above Copacabana Beach, the film shows the popular Rio de Janeiro waterfront not in its usual sunlit splendor but in the artificially lit nocturne of New Year’s Eve 2000. Celebrators teem in the space between city and ocean, in the moment between one year and the next, moving in dynamic patterns amid the immense designs laid out by Roberto Burle Marx.
The Brazilian artist Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) is one of the most prominent landscape architects of the twentieth century. His famous projects range from the remarkable mosaic pavements on the seaside avenue of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach to the multitude of gardens that embellish Brasilia, one of several-large scale projects he executed in collaboration with famed architect Oscar Niemeyer. Although his landscape design work is renowned worldwide, the artist’s work in other media remains little known. Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist therefore explores the richness and breadth of the artist’s oeuvre—from landscape architecture to painting, from sculpture to theater
Although construction was never completed, "El Helicoide" ("The Helix") in Caracas is one of the most important relics of the Modern movement in Venezuela. The 73,000 square meter project - designed in 1955 by Jorge Romero Gutiérrez, Peter Neuberger and Dirk Bornhorst - takes the form of a double spiral topped by a large geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. It was characterized by a series of ascending and descending ramps meant to carry visitors to its variety of programmatic spaces - including 320 shops, a 5 star hotel, offices, a playground, a television studio and a space for events and conventions.
Today, Proyecto Helicoide (Project Helix) seeks to rescue the urban history and memory of the building through a series of exhibitions, publications and educational activities. More details on the initiative, after the break.
As a follow up to last weeks coverage on the Rio Carnival 2012 kick-off in Oscar Niemeyer’s newly renovated Sambadrome, we would like to share with you this stunning tilt-shift video capturing the essence of Rio de Janeiro and the colorful parade of the Carnival. You will also catch a glimpse of famous mosaic sidewalks of the Copacabana Beach Boardwalk designed by the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
*This video was filmed during Carnival of 2011.