Research Project at the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo (MAC USP)

Art and Facts: The Image, Sound and Rhythm of Global Culture

By Christiane Wagner

The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the country’s largest art museums. It belongs to the University of São Paulo and other schools and faculties that conduct a joint activity research program in Aesthetics, Art History, and its interfaces. The most significant schools and faculties of the University of São Paulo for that research program are the School of Communications and Arts; the School of Arts, Science and Humanities; the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism; and the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Science.

As a visiting research professor at the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo (MAC USP), I’m working on the research “Relations between Music and Visual Arts in the Contemporaneity” and “Heritage Interpretation: Museum, Culture, and Society.” For this purpose, my research project titled “Art and Facts: Image, Sound, and Rhythm of Global Culture. Aesthetics of Everyday Life” will be developed.


Beyond the importance of the medium, form, and context from which art takes its characteristics, this research considers the significance of the influence of socio-cultural and market factors upon contemporary art. Actually, there are different forms of visual expression and perceptions toward everyday aesthetics as a result of the media and environment. The images being produced relate to the cultural changes and their time-space significance. Hence, this research is not only about the image itself and its description but rather its effects on culture, in which reciprocity is also involved. For example, a variety of visual narratives are discussed in terms of their visual significance as well as their synchronization with sounds in daily interactions. Accordingly, this study examines the digital technologies, motion pictures, visual and sound recordings, broadcasting industries, and their social impacts. This study focuses upon the myriad meanings of art to develop an awareness of their effects on culture and the dynamics of their communication.

Among the most important modern and contemporary artists and composers, this research focuses on Robert Rauschenberg’s artworks, in which the pieces highlight the influence of music by John Cage and David Tudor on the artist. In this sense, this research aims to analyze Tribute 21 (1994), a series of 21 artworks Rauschenberg produced and donated to 21 museums across the world, including MAC USP (Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo) in 1994. Tribute 21 is a series of offset lithographs printed at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), New York, and published by Felissimo, Tokyo. It celebrates themes that significantly influence the media on global and everyday social interactions, whether in economics, politics, science, or culture, and the diversity of these fields in the 21st century. Among these prints, John Cage stands out for his influence as a composer. Finally, the focus of the research is on the rhythm of the metropole and its aesthetic, political, and cultural dynamics in constant transformation, in the framework of the relationship between architecture, moving image, and sound.

Keywords: art, society, representations, mass media, reality, and transformation.

For more information, visit the institution’s website and the collection—artworks are currently available online.

Music (Tribute 21), Robert Rauschenberg, 1994. © MAC USP

Human Rights (Tribute 21), Robert Rauschenberg, 1994. © MAC USP

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