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Art in the loo: Australian museum hangs Picasso collection in women’s toilet after court ruling

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Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has relocated a portion of its Picasso collection to a women’s restroom following a court decision that ruled the display of the artwork in a women-only exhibition space was discriminatory against men, The Independent reported.
The Ladies Lounge, created by American artist Kirsha Kaechele, is currently under appeal after the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tascat) found the museum to be in violation of the state’s anti-discriminatory law in April.The tribunal ordered Mona to grant access to the exhibition to “persons who do not identify as ladies.”
The exhibition, which opened in 2020, was designed as a women-only exhibit inspired by the misogynistic, old-fashioned Australian pubs that excluded women until 1965. Inside the lounge, women were served champagne by male butlers while enjoying a private viewing of artworks by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso and Sidney Nolan.
Ms Kaechele expressed her delight at the complaint, stating that the men’s reaction to the exhibit was, in fact, the art itself. “The men are experiencing Ladies Lounge, their experience of rejection is the artwork,” she said at the time.
In an effort to keep the Ladies Lounge open to women only, Ms Kaechele explored various loopholes, including transforming the space into a toilet or a church. On Monday, she announced a “new exhibition at Mona just for ladies” on social media, revealing that the museum had never had female-only toilets before, as they were all unisex.
However, the museum plans to open the exhibit to men on Sundays, allowing them to learn skills such as ironing and folding laundry. “Women can bring in all their clean laundry and the men can go through a series of graceful movements (designed by a Rinpoche and refined by tai chi masters) to fold them,” Ms Kaechele explained in an interview published by the museum in May.
Tascat deputy president Richard Grueber ruled in April that Mr Lau’s complaint was valid, as he had been denied entry to a part of the museum solely because of his gender, despite having paid the full entry price for Mona.
Ms Kaechele, in announcing her decision to appeal the ruling, emphasized the importance of the Ladies Lounge as a safe space exclusively for women, stating that women deserve both equal rights and reparations in the form of unequal rights or chivalry for at least 300 years, given the historical inequality they have faced.





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