A 20th century renaissance man, Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s creative output was not only limited to landscape architecture but also included painting, sculpture, and designs for textiles, jewelry, theater sets and costumes, ceramics, and stained-glass. His reputation as an abstract modernist was defined by his major projects which blended the geometric and biomorphic forms he became known for, such as the undulating pavement designs of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
To complement Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist, an exhibition which also features the work of contemporary artists with ties to Latin America who were influenced by his practice, the Jewish Museum Shop brought together a selection of colorful products made by artisans, many of whom grew up in Brazil surrounded by Burle Marx’s landscapes, and were inspired by his body of work.
Featured below are highlights from the Jewish Museum Shop’s selection of merchandise inspired by Roberto Burle Marx, all sourced through our own contemporary way of looking — hashtags on Instagram and Etsy.
Grimmer, a Brazilian brand that produces leather accessories, blends fashion and art with bold patterns. Their tote bag, coin purse, glasses case, and notebook feature a blue and white geometric print styled after Burle Marx’s azulejo tile wall at the Moreira Salles Institute, a popular cultural center in Rio de Janiero. All their products are made in Brazil using sustainable leathers and papers, echoing Burle Marx’s earth-friendly ethos as a self-taught botanist and an early advocate for rainforest preservation.
San Francisco-based designer and professionally trained architect Molly McGrath of Molly M Designs uses her experience making laser-cut models to create handmade jewelry and leather designs. Her collection at the shop is influenced by the Tropicalismo movement that combined contradictory ideas of traditionalism and international avant-garde influences in art and culture in late 1960s Brazil. Using this hybridization as a starting point, her jewelry is made with a fusion of materials like leather, wood, lokta paper and fabric. The forms reference the geometry of Brazilian tile work, the sculptural architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, and the organic landscape designs of Roberto Burle Marx.
Ceramicist Adriana Cavalcanti’s work is informed by both a botany background and the lush landscapes designed by artist Roberto Burle Marx which surrounded her when growing up in her native country of Brazil. Featured in the Shop are her Copacabana bowls and leaf platters fashioned after the philodendron leaf native to Brazil and beloved by Burle Marx. Each piece is handmade in Cavalcanti’s Minnesota studio and, similar to nature, no two are exactly alike.
The Shop also commissioned an original collection by jewelry designer Peter Hofmeister, a former designer for Ralph Lauren. Hofmeister works with natural stones and metals to create one-of-a-kind works featuring polished brass and semi-precious stones native to Brazil. The fluid and geometric shapes recall Burle Marx’s original 1960s designs. Each piece is made by hand in Hofmeister’s New York City studio and are available exclusively in the Jewish Museum Shop.
Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist is on view at the Jewish Museum through September 18. Shop our selection of merchandise inspired by the exhibition online or at the Jewish Museum Shop.