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The exhibition Stories of sexuality brings a comprehensive and diverse description of the collection of the São Paulo Museum of Art - MASP from the theme of sexuality and the always central place that it has occupied in the collective imaginary and in artistic production. The project aimed to stimulate a debate, crossing temporalities, geographies and means, on the boundaries between individual rights and freedom of expression, and more specifically on issues related to sexuality. The proposal occurred at a very opportune time, considering that, despite the Brazilian constitution bringing very clear rules for the protection of artistic freedom, in item IX of Article 5: " the expression of intellectual activity is free, artistic, scientific and communication, regardless of censorship or license" and in paragraph 2 of Article 220: "any censorship of apolitical, ideological and artistic nature" is also closed, doubts about the subject still persist in Brazilian society, which usually give rise to manifestations and acts of censorship of artistic freedom. For this reason, the MASP – a museum that has the mission of establishing, in a critical and creative way, dialogues between past and present, cultures and territories, from the visual arts – created a comprehensive program of exhibitions, seminars, courses, workshops and publications around stories of sexuality. The project included two international seminars, held on 16 and 17 September 2016 and on 26 and 27 May 2017, and an exhibition fully dedicated to the histories of sexuality, open from 19 October 2017 to 14 February 2018. The first seminar promoted discussions about the circuits and territories of sexuality in the urban space, covering topics such as activism and the public sphere, feminisms, queer, LGBT movement and gender performivity, in connection with visual culture and artistic practice. The second seminar covered topics such as human rights, sexual dissent, feminisms, activism, prostitution, psychoanalysis, eroticism and queer theory, also in connection with visual culture and artistic practice. The exhibition (open to the public for free) brought together more than 300 works divided into nine thematic and non-chronological nuclei — naked bodies, totemisms, religiosities, gender performances, sex games, sex markets, languages, and voyeurisms, body politics and activism. The show also included a video room as part of the core voyeurisms. Some works by central artists in the MASP collection — such as Edgard Degas, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Suzanne Valadon and Victor Meirelles — were exhibited in new contexts, finding other possibilities for comprehension and reading. Alongside them, a selection of works of different formats, periods and territories composed truly multiple histories, challenging hierarchies and boundaries between typologies and categories of objects in the most conventional art history — from pre-Columbian art to modern art, from so-called folk art to contemporary art, from sacred art to conceptual art, including African, Asian, European and American art, in paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, photocopies, videos, documents, publications, among others.
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The Exhibition Stories of Sexuality was one of the greatest successes in the history of MASP; already in the first week (from its opening, on October 20, 2017, until the29th of the same month) received 18,000 visitors, and in the same period of the previous year, Masp received about 10,000 visitors, representing an 80% increase in the number of visitors. Until February 4, 2018, the exhibition received 114,000 visitors. With this exhibition, MASP broke two records: the largest daily visitation (6,471 people on January 25, 2018) and the best January (summer vacation in Brazil) in its history: 53,000 visitors. Moreover, through the lectures and debates held during the seminars and the exhibition, the project demonstrated to society that there are no absolute or definitive truths, and that the boundaries of what is morally acceptable shift from time to time. Classical sculptures that are icons of art history have not in often had sex covered up. Also, customs vary between cultures and civilizations. In several European nations and indigenous communities, it is natural to have nudity displayed in public places; polygamy is accepted in some Islamic countries; prostitution is a legal practice in some states and condemned in others; there are countries where abortion is free but there are others where it is prohibited. It has also been shown that the only absolute given from which it is not possible to give up is respect for the other, for difference and artistic freedom. Therefore, the need and space for dialogue have been reaffirmed, creating conditions for all people — each with their beliefs, practices, political orientations, and sexualities — to live harmoniously.
Partenaires engagés dans la mise en œuvre de la politique/mesure :
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Special Secretariat for Culture
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