Conservative assholes everywhere are getting their way anymore. In this case, a bunch of conservative asshole libertarians got an art show shut down a month early.
Santander Cultural, a gallery space sponsored by the eponymous Spanish bank, decided to close Queermuseum after receiving an onslaught of vitriolic criticism on social media and from gallery visitors last week. People have accused the artwork of being offensive as well as harmful to children, citing blasphemy, pedophilia, and bestiality. One of Santander’s buildings was recently tagged with the phrases “the Santander Bank supports pedophilia” and “they are antichrists.” Behind these protests is the libertarian group Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL), which has gained traction throughout the country ever since it drew mass support of former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment. “Pedophilia, zoophilia, and the sexualization of children definitely do NOT represent the LGBT universe,” the group wrote earlier today on its Facebook page.
In an interview with Hyperallergic, Fidelis, the curator, said he hadn’t been consulted by Santander and was caught off-guard by its decision. According to Fidelis, during the 25 days that the exhibition had been up, there had been no complaints. It wasn’t until last Wednesday that members of MBL began infiltrating the exhibition, assaulting visitors, and taking videos of the exhibition and posting them to Facebook.
In one video, three men pan over the artworks, exclaiming, “See for yourself whether this is art!” Among the images they linger on are Adriana Varejão’s 1994 painting depicting gay and interracial sex and Antonio Obá’s “Et Verbum” (2011), where communion wafers are scrawled with words such as “vulva,” “tongue,” and “asshole.” “This guy should be in jail,” one of the men says, referring to Fidelis. “They are perverting the notions of family.”
Amid intensifying online debate on Sunday, Santander announced on Facebook its decision to take down the exhibition. In the statement, it apologizes to those who felt disrespected and ultimately concludes that Queermuseum was “not in line with our view of the world.” Ironically, Santander critiques the exhibition, which celebrated marginalized artists, for not being “inclusive” and not “generating positive reflection.” The statement, which is worth reading in its entirety, is translated in full below: …