Dalila Touching up My Dreads, 2020. Photo: Courtesy of the David Zwirner Gallery.
Maxwell Alexandre was born in 1990 in Rio de Janeiro, where he grew up living in the Rocinha community – Brazil’s largest slum, and where he maintains his studio. In 2017, he obtained his degree in Design and Visual Communications from PUC-RJ. Before dedicating himself to the visual arts, his expression was through skating, a sport he practiced from age 14 to 26, specializing in street skating. He became known for his itinerant exhibition Pardo é papel (Pardo is paper, 2019), that portrays black subjects in situations of power and elevated self-esteem.
The itinerancy of Pardo é papel began in March of 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon, France. In November 2019, it arrived at the MAR in Rio de Janeiro, when it was interrupted by the pandemic in March 2020 after beating the public record of the museum. In 2020, Maxwell Alexandre participated in the artistic residency of the Museum of Contemporary African Art Al Maaden, in Marrakech, which resulted in the collective exhibition, Have You Seen a Horizon Lately? A spinoff of Pardo é papel, called Pardo é papel: Close a Door to Open a Window, was installed in the David Zwirner Gallery in London, between December 2020 and January 2021. The itinerancy of Pardo é papel returned in October 2020 to the Iberê Foundation in Porto Alegre.
In 2020, Maxwell Alexandre was one of three artists of the year to be elected by Deutsche Bank’s Global Art Advisory Council; and he was appointed by the Artsy portal as one of the 35 emergent vanguard artists. His oeuvre is included in the collections of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the São Paulo Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, the Rio Art Museum, the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art and the Perez Art Museum, in Miami.