Brasilian artist born in São Paulo, painter and daughtsman, set designer, teacher, happening and installation artist. Son of Isai Leirner (ex-director do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo and founder of Galeria de Arte da Folha as well as Leirner Prize of Contemporary Art) and of Felícia Leirner (sculptor). Between 1947 and 1952, he studies at the Lowell Technological Institute, in Massachusetts (USA). In 1952 returns to São Paulo. Nelson begins to paint in 1956, studied with Joan Ponç and later Samson Flexor . In 1966, together with Geraldo de Barros and Wesley Duke Lee, Nelson Leirner founded the São Paulo “Grupo Rex” which both humorously and aggressively criticised the dominant system of production, valuation and marketing of art at the time. On resolving to shut their magazine and gallery the following year, they turned this information with a humorous gesture into a happening by announcing that Nelson Leirner’s paintings could be taken home. In 1967 he is awared at tye IX Tokyo Biennale. The same year he submitted a wooden cage holding a stuffed pig with a ham tied to its tail for an exhibition in Brasilia. On its acceptance he asked for the criteria of the decision. This led to three months of debate about art and the jury.