After touring Brazilian and European cities, the exhibition “Pardo é Papel” occupies The Shed, in New York, from October 26, 2022 to January 8, 2023
One of the most celebrated young artists in Brazilian contemporary art, Maxwell Alexandre continues to break new ground. Born and raised in the Rocinha community in Rio de Janeiro, the artist opens on October 26, at The Shed, in New York, the exhibition “Pardo é Papel: The Glorious Victory and New Power,” which marks his first solo show in the United States.
“For us, who have followed the trajectory and development of Maxwell Alexandre’s production since the beginning, it is a moment of celebration and enchantment for being able to experience his work reaching new audiences and following in constant evolution,” says Frances Reynolds, president and founder of Instituto Inclusartiz.
Organized by Alessandra Gómez, Associate Curator at The Shed, the exhibition will feature new and existing works from the ongoing series “Pardo é Papel” (2017 – ), which celebrate the empowerment, self-esteem and prosperity of black people. Suspended from the ceiling of the North American gallery, Maxwell Alexandre’s large-scale paintings depict scenes of communal leisure interspersed with recurring historical, religious and artistic imagery. Pop culture symbols appear alongside these images, including representations of black cultural icons, like Beyoncé, Nina Simone and Elza Soares, as well as commercial products that marked the artist’s childhood, such as popular plastic blue Capri pools, Danone yogurt, and the chocolate drink Toddynho.
The beginning of the series “Pardo é Papel” refers to the year 2017. On that occasion, the artist painted some self-portraits on sheets of brown paper strayed in his studio, and in the process he realized the political and conceptual act he was articulating with the black bodies traced on the surface, since the brown “color” was used for a long time in Brazil to veil blackness.
In 2018, believing in the sociopolitical and aesthetic force of Maxwell Alexandre’s work and in his potential to be one of the main names in Brazilian contemporary art, Inclusartiz invited him to participate in the Delfina Foundation artistic residency program, in London, promoted in partnership with the institute. As a result of that residency, the initial assembly of the exhibition “Pardo é Papel” was born, inaugurated in 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon, France.
In the same year, the show was presented by Inclusartiz to the Brazilian public at the Museu de Arte do Rio – MAR, achieving great public and media success, having received more than 60,000 visitors during the period of exhibition – between November, 2019 and May, 2020. Throughout 2021, “Pardo é Papel” continued touring Brazil, visiting the cities of Porto Alegre (Iberê Camargo Foundation) and São Paulo (Tomie Ohtake Institute).