Brazilian artist Maxwell Alexandre demanded that his work be removed from Inhotim, a museum and botanical garden in Brumadinho that counts among Brazil’s largest art institutions. His large-scale paintings were featured in an exhibition about the Black experience, and he said he had not consented to their inclusion.
In a social media post, Alexandre wrote that he was embarrassed by “the communication of the exhibition,” titled “Quilombo: vida, problemas e aspirações donegro” (“Quilombo: life, problems and aspirations of the Black”), which opened at the museum on November 18.
“My work and my concept were used without my consent as a central part of the exhibition,” Alexandre explained. “I only found out that this was happening like this at the last minute and even though I expressed my embarrassment and dissatisfaction and said that I didn’t want to be part of this show, they didn’t respect me, they ran over me! Take down my work Inhotim.”
Alexandre called for the removal of his work on November 30, and it was removed by the museum one week later.
The work in question is a group of large-scale suspended paintings from Alexandre’s 2021 series “Novo Poder” (“New Power”). It was included alongside works from 32 other artists and collectives. The exhibition is part of a larger project, staged in collaboration with the Institute of Research and Afro-Brazilian Studies, that is intended to celebrate the legacy and influence of Brazilian artist Abdias do Nascimento (1914–2011).
“Inhotim takes an official position in relation to recent events involving the exhibition Quilombo: vida, problemas e aspirações donegro, and expresses, in a spirit of conciliation, its intention to, at the artist’s request, remove the work from the exhibition,” the museum said in a statement. “As of Wednesday, December 7, 2022, the work will no longer be on display.”