Brazilian museum closes queer art show after protests

Queermuseu – cartografias da diferença na arte da brasileira

Santander Cultural in Porto Alegre has cancelled a group exhibition dedicated in queer Brazilian art half way through its scheduled run after a series of protests outside the museum by right-wing activists. 

Queermuseu – Cartografias da Diferença na Arte da Brasileira (Queer Museum – Cartographies of Difference in the art of Brazil), curated by Gaudêncio Fidelis at the bank-funded private institution, featured 85 artists including Adriana Varejão, Alfredo Volpi, Cândido Portinari, Clóvis Graciano, Fabio Del Re, Flávio Cerqueira, Leonilson and Gilberto Perin. Over 270 works were loaned from public and private collections in what preliminary press material described as an ‘unprecedented initiative’.

On Sunday the institution released a statement noting, ‘The aim of Santander Cultural is to encourage the arts and promote debate on the great issues of the contemporary world, and not generate any kind of disrespect and discord. This time, however, we have heard the demonstrations and we understand that some of the works of the Queermuseu exhibition disrespect symbols, beliefs and people, which is not in line with our worldview. When art is not capable of generating inclusion and positive reflection, it loses its greater purpose, which is to elevate the human condition.’

The cancellation has provoked widespread condemnation, including from the artists whose work was on show. One, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, in an Instagram post, linked the event to the conservative regime of Michel Temer, claiming that ‘dictatorship is revealing itself ever so slowly’. A counter protest is planned outside the museum. 

11 September 2017