Identities in Motion in Hélio Oiticica's Parangolés (1964-1980)

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Title Identities in Motion in Hélio Oiticica's Parangolés (1964-1980)
Creator Chandler Keeling
Description Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica's series of objects, titled Parangolés (1964-1980), are wearable and useable objects made from layered fabrics and often appear as capes. The Parangolés created a liberating experience for the participant, allowing them to present their gender and sexuality in diverse ways. I argue for a re-examination of Oiticica's work through the lens of gender and sexuality, which has largely been overlooked by contemporary scholars. Oiticica, through the making of the capes, responded to the political contexts of the cities that he was living in during their creation.; ; In Rio de Janeiro, Oiticica adapted visual forms and qualities from Brazilian carnival, such as the use of banners, flags, and samba school colors, to create a freeing experience similar to that of carnival for its participants. He furthered this connection in the first public display of the Parangolés, which he organized as a procession to the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro for the exhibition Opinião 65 in 1965. The procession format directly related to the samba school processions of carnival, which Oiticica participated in with his friends from the Mangueira favela from 1965 to 1967. This M.A project seeks to contextualize Oiticica's use of carnival forms by discussing his non-heterosexual identity through an analysis of his writings from this period, while also examining the unique freedom carnival provided for gay men as argued by scholars James N. Green, among others. In comparison to his work in Rio de Janeiro, Oiticica's Parangolés, created in New York (1972-74) during the post-Stonewall era, allow the wearer to subvert the policing of gender identity during this period. The entirely mesh Parangolés do not correspond to any form of gendered clothing, creating a neutral object that deflects strict police laws against cross-dressing. The New York Parangolés also emphasize male eroticism, corresponding with a time when Oiticica was documenting his sexual experimentations with men in his artwork. I argue that Oiticica's sexual experimentation was a crucial factor in his work, and informed the changes that he made to the Parangolés during his New York period.
Subject Art History
Creation Date 2020-01
Work ID AHP_0004
Rights ©Chandler Keeling
ARK ark:/87278/s6h18d83
Setname uu_aah_aahp
Date Created 2020-05-14
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 1551219
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6h18d83