Brazilian Art Show Sets Off Dispute That Mirrors Political Battles

“It’s never happened in Brazil, not even during the dictatorship,” he added, referring to the brutal military dictatorship that ended in 1985. “It sets a bad precedent.”

In Brazil, private and public banks and other companies are some of the biggest investors in culture, many of them financing museums, artists and films.

The cancellation reverberated across the country, feeding into the broad political feud that exploded during the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, pitting her supporters against the man who replaced her, Michel Temer.

The country’s top artists were already wary of Mr. Temer’s close ties to the evangelical lobby in Brazil’s Congress, and one of his early actions — to appoint an all-male, all-white cabinet, and to eliminate the Culture Ministry — did not help, even though the ministry was quickly reinstated.

Also, Mr. Temer has continued to actively court religious conservatives in Congress to help push through his economic initiatives and protect him from a corruption investigation.


Felipe Scandelari’s artwork “Last Resort” was among the images included in an art exhibition on gender and sexual diversity that was canceled in Brazil.

Felipe Scandelari

Many artists have rallied to Ms. Rousseff. During her impeachment trial when she was accused of breaking budgetary laws, many musicians and artists who had resisted the dictatorship took a stand against Mr. Temer for what they said was an “institutional coup d’état.”

At the Cannes Film Festival last year, the cast of the Brazilian film “Aquarius,” including Sonia Braga, held up placards on the red carpet denouncing the “illegitimate government” and urging people to “save Brazilian democracy!”

A couple of months later, the new government’s Oscar committee rejected “Aquarius” as Brazil’s candidate…

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