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An Art Lover's Guide to Rio

An Art Lover’s Guide to Rio

November 16, 2014

Rio de Janeiro is experiencing an artistic renaissance. Globalization, economic growth and an expanding middle class in Brazil are all contributing factors to the recent growth of Rio’s art market.

How much growth? In 2013, research conducted by the Promotion Project International Contemporary Brazilian Art Market confirmed an increase in galleries and represented artists but also an 81% increase in art sales compared to the previous year.

The artistic culture in Rio is incredibly diverse. Whether you prefer sprawling museums, intimate galleries, or independent art, you’re bound to be inspired by the energy in Rio’s art scene.


Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janiero
Museum of Modern Art © Wikipedia

For a mix of international and Brazilian art, you can’t miss one of Rio’s impressive and established art museums. See the works of Brazilian Modernists like Moore or Giacometti in the Museum of Modern Art. Often the museum itself is a work of art; in particular, the Museum of Contemporary Art (affectionately known as the “flying saucer”) and Rio Art Museum are often cited for their innovative design.

RealRio Picks
Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Moderna)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu de Arte Contemporanea Niteroi)
Rio Art Museum (Museu de Arte do Rio)

More museums
International Naïve Art Museum (Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf)
Casa Daros
National Museum of Fine Arts (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes)


A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro
A Gentil Carioca © Art News

Galleries in Rio range from curated, private collections to experimental, alternative art spaces. We’re especially fond of A Gentil Carioca, located in a historical colonial townhouse; Fabrica Bhering, set in a former chocolate factory; and Atemporal, a collaborative art space in Lapa.

RealRio Picks
A Gentil Carioca
Fabrica Bhering
H A P Galeria
Anita Schwartz

More galleries
Instituto Moreira Salles
Galeria de Arte Ipanema
Galeria Tempo
Artur Fidalgo

Street Art

Favela Painting Project, Rio de Janeiro
Favelas © The Guardian

Street art is legal in Rio and has a strong, vibrant subculture. The painted favelas and Escadaria Selarón in Santa Teresa are well-known examples, but many of Rio’s most remarkable graffiti, installations, and murals are in lesser-known locations, making a private street art tour a good alternative for seeing the grittier side of the Rio art scene.

RealRio Picks
Escadaria Selarón
Haas & Hahn Favela Painting Project
Graffiti walls in Lapa

Art Events

ArtRio, Rio de Janeiro
ArtRio ©

Rio hosts several art events and fair throughout the year. ArtRio, considered Brazil’s premier art fair, attracts the most attention in September. Running at the same time is Art Rua, a festival celebrating street art and urban culture. Once a year, the art studios in the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa open their doors to the public in an event known as Arte de Portas Abertas.

RealRio Picks
Art Rua
Arte de Portas Abertas

More art events
Casa Cor
Multiplicidade Imagem Som inusitados

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