João Ribas, the director of Portugal’s Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, stepped down after an exhibition of works by the late American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was subject to censorship. Ribas was appointed only in January of this year, The Art Newspaper reported, replacing Suzanne Cotter. He said he is “no longer able to lead the institution.”
Before the show opened this month, Ribas had told a Portuguese newspaper that explicit photos would not be cordoned off in a separate area. However, when the show opened, it had two galleries housing explicit material, with restricted access to anyone under the age of 18. The show was originally supposed to have 179 works, but only has 159, TAN reported.
Over 150 artists and arts professionals have signed the petition addressed to the director of the Serralves Foundation in support of Ribas. TAN reports that the signatories include Wolfgang Tillmans, Tania Bruguera and Stuart Comer, the chief curator of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.