Barcelona’s Museu de l’Art Prohibit, a new museum dedicated to artworks that have faced censorship, is set to open this week with a collection of 42 items that have been “censored, prohibited, or denounced due to political, social, or religious reasons.” Spearheaded by Catalan collector and businessman Tatxo Benet, this unique institution aims to shed light on the power of free expression and challenge censorship.
The museum, led by artistic director Carles Guerra, features works from renowned artists like Ai Weiwei, Banksy, and Gustav Klimt. Guerra believes that in today’s society, censorship is becoming increasingly difficult, with individuals gaining the power to confront oppressive forces. He states, “Through this collection, we discover that there is no power that cannot be confronted.”
Tatxo Benet initiated his collection in 2018 when Spanish officials withdrew Santiago Sierra’s “Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain” from an art fair. Benet’s vision is to support art that reflects diverse viewpoints and offers a platform for open dialogue. The collection encompasses more than 200 pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries, some of which employ religious imagery or address marginalised communities.
While some of the artworks have sparked controversy due to their explicit content or provocative themes, Benet stands firm in his belief that all forms of art should be displayed at the museum without taboos. He aims to increase visitors’ levels of tolerance and celebrates the fact that these censored works are now accessible to the public. The Museu de l’Art Prohibit is a testament to the triumph of freedom of expression in the face of censorship.