tiago guiness

Tiago Guiness, São Paulo, October of 1987 (2016)

The Louvre building was initially conceived to be totally permeable to São Luís avenue. Over the years, due to the decay that downtown São Paulo suffered in the 1980s, the building has come to have metal grates—delimiting inside and outside—as well as a centralized entrance and doorman, and its previously public bathrooms are now locked (both the individual stalls and the entrance door). This last measure is related to the use of male public bathrooms for cruising. The core of the downtown gay dating scene is the Dom José Gaspar square, the “garden” found in 1960s advertisements for the Louvre building that located it “in front of the library gardens.” From the public square to the public bathrooms of the Louvre building, the Metrópole gallery and the Mappin department store. In the 1980s and 90s, gay men were stigmatized because of HIV, a prejudice that appears in article 22 of the Regulation of the Louvre Building: “The building manager and any member of the administration can prohibit entrance to the building of poorly dressed, suspicious, or immoral people, carriers of infectious and contagious diseases, or whomever it deems convenient, for the sake of reputation, morals and good customs.” This document dates back to 1987 and is currently still framed and hung on the ground floor and mezzanine of the building. Tiago Guiness created a sound installation for the men’s bathroom, transformed unisex for the exhibition’s opening, which broadcasted narratives about sexuality.