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Forbidden Art on show with Picasso, Warhol and Goya in Barcelona

Pablo Picasso: "Yes, art is dangerous"

Welcome to previously censored art – to Goya, Warhol, Picasso and Weiwei

BARCELONA: Prohibit. Proibito. Prohibido. Interdit. Or simply Forbidden art. Such happens when artists push boundaries and create controversy, enough to be included in Museum of Forbidden Art. Works on the walls by Spanish master Francisco de Goya, US icon Andy Warhol and Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei political charged pieces are spread over two floors. Mix sex with politics and religion, and you get something forbidden at the impossible exhibition.

Spanish journalist Tatxo Benet collected forbidden art and opened a museum.
Spanish journalist Tatxo Benet collected forbidden art and opened a museum.

Works censored

The Catalan media-owner Tatxo Benet had a collection of 200 works, all been censored before decided to open the museum.

“Any artist who can’t show their work because someone prevents them from doing so is an artist who is censored, and therefore will always have a place in this museum,” Tatxo Benet said. He is passionate about promoting artistic freedom and providing a space for artists whose works have been suppressed.

'McJesus' by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen at a new Barcelona museum dedicated to art that has been censored.
‘McJesus’ by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen at a new Barcelona museum dedicated to art that has been censored.

Artistic expression

The Museum of Forbidden Art allows visitors to explore the power of artistic expression and the impact it can have on society. It seems like a place that encourages critical thinking and promotes artistic freedom.
The artists whose works are displayed represent a wide range of artistic styles, themes, and backgrounds. Each piece of art tells a unique story of resistance, challenging societal norms, political oppression, or cultural restrictions. The art on the walls serves as a powerful testament to the resilience and creativity of artists who have been silenced or marginalized.

General Franco on show. This sculpture was banned, now in a new museum.
General Franco on show. This sculpture was banned, now in a new museum.

Critical thinking

By showcasing these censored works, the museum not only celebrates the artistic expression of these individuals but also aims to raise awareness about the importance of artistic freedom and the implications of censorship in society. It provides a platform for visitors to engage with the artworks, encouraging critical thinking and discussions surrounding issues of censorship, oppression, and the role of art in challenging the status quo.

Works with history

Tatxo Benet describe the core idea behind the museum and his art collection.

“We don’t collect or show scandalous or controversial works in the museum. We show works that have been censored, assaulted, violated, banned. Works having a history, without that history they wouldn’t be here.”

Benet started building this collection in 2018 when he bought an installation called “Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain”.

Art and religion

Many art works deal with religion, such as a work by French-Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah featuring 30 Muslim praier mats, each adorned with a pair of Sequinned stilettos. It was pulled from an exhibition in France in 2015 following complaints from a Muslim group.

Another is “Mc Jesus” of a MacDonald sculpture crucified to a wooden cross, which was withdrawn from a museum in Israel.

Once forbidden, now not forbidden art
Once forbidden, now not forbidden art

Muslim prayer maths

Another highlight is a work by French-Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah featuring 30 Muslim prayer mats. Each adorned with a pair of sequined stilettos, which was pulled from an exhibition in France in 2015 following complaints from a Muslim group.

The museum also displays paintings and sketches by former prisoners at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, including one of the Statue of Liberty submerged in water with only the hand holding a torch and top of the crown visible.

Art is dangerous

Pablo Picasso is one of the most fame artists on the walls in Barcelona. “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth” is one of his many quotes. Picasso said a lot about art, including one about dangerous art.

“Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.”

 

Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya online travel magazine. Meeting people for engaging stories. I´m off to uncover the best strategies for long life living. This is part of my venture “Around the World in 80 Lanes” – about travel, run sprint, staying fit! I just want a tiny slice of adventures to feel alive, and then excited to return home.

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