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Picasso artworks put in female toilet as part of art gallery response to court ruling

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses a discrimination complaint filed against the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Tasmania, regarding its women-only "Ladies Lounge" exhibition space. The museum was found to have discriminated against a man who was denied entry to the lounge, and in response, the museum decided to hang Picasso artworks in the toilet to keep the lounge open.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Discrimination Complaint

1. What was the discrimination complaint filed against Mona?

  • A man named Jason Lau filed a complaint with the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) after he was refused entry to Mona's women-only "Ladies Lounge" exhibition space, despite paying the museum entry fee.
  • TASCAT found that Mona had discriminated against Lau by refusing him entry to the lounge based on his gender.

2. How did Mona respond to the TASCAT ruling?

  • Mona's curator, Kirsha Kaechele, said she would consider using a loophole to turn the Ladies Lounge into a toilet in order to keep it open despite the ruling.
  • Kaechele also appealed the TASCAT decision to the Tasmanian Supreme Court, arguing that the tribunal took too narrow a view of women's historical and ongoing societal disadvantage, and did not recognize how the Ladies Lounge experience can promote equal opportunity.

[02] Mona's Response

1. What did Mona do to keep the Ladies Lounge open?

  • Mona hung multiple Picasso artworks in the toilet to overcome the discrimination complaint and keep the Ladies Lounge open.
  • Kaechele said Mona would "get the lounge open again soon" by using a section of the state's Anti-Discrimination Act that allows for certain types of discrimination.

2. How did Kaechele describe the purpose of the Ladies Lounge?

  • Kaechele described the Ladies Lounge as "a lavish ladies-only gallery space featuring artworks from the Mona collection alongside important modernist works and invaluable antiquities."
  • She said the artwork in the lounge "evokes in men the lived experience of women forbidden from entering certain spaces throughout history."

3. What was the reaction of Kaechele's supporters during the TASCAT hearing?

  • During the hearing, Kaechele was accompanied by a group of about 20 supporters who dressed in navy suits.
  • The supporters sat very still, then shifted their position in a unison and coordinated manner, reportedly reading feminist texts. They slowly marched out of the tribunal to the tune of Robert Palmer's song "Simply Irresistible."
  • The TASCAT deputy president described this behavior as "at the very least it was inappropriate, discourteous and disrespectful, and at worst contumelious and contemptuous."
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