‘Sensitive Geometries: Brazil 1950s–1980s’ at Hauser & Wirth

'Mira Schendel — Untitled,' 1955. (Courtesy Hauser & Wirth)

‘Mira Schendel — Untitled,’ 1955. (Courtesy Hauser & Wirth)

As Brazil’s economy strengthens dramatically, its contemporary art is gaining international attention, and galleries are rushing to open there. The cannily timed “Sensitive Geometries” provides a lively, much-needed primer to the country’s recent artistic past. Organized with private dealer Olivier Renaud-Clement, it brings together 54 works by a dozen Brazilian artists who worked predominantly in hard-edged, reductionist abstraction from the 1950s through the ’80s, when Brazil was also experiencing a boom. Highlights include the spare geometric forms that Ivan Serpa made in gouache in the 1950s (they recall Ellsworth Kelly’s contemporaneous work) and two wall-hung aluminum plates from the 1960s that Franz Weissmann worked to look, respectively, like a powder-soft version of the moon’s dark surface and the wreckage of a sublime chrome-filled industrial accident. There’s a 1972 sculpture by Paulo Roberto Leal, an acrylic brown box harboring carefully folded white sheets of paper, emitting a futuristic, near-cosmic energy that seems likely to have impressed Los Angeles’s Light and Space artists. There’s also a full room of austere drawings by Mira Schendel—including a 1955 Constructivist painting on paper—that alone are worth a visit. (Through Oct. 26)