Mona: Australian Museum not allowed to host a Women Only exhibit

Discrimination in the Arts

Here's a hot potato: Australia's Museum of Old and New Arts has just been order to allow people "who do not identify as ladies" into it's Ladies Lounge installation after a legal claim by a male visitor. Presumably with a penis.

The dichotomy here is that art should be for everybody, but at the same time surely it can be the artist's decision who views the work.

In my opinion no bloke in his right mind is going to pay over £250 for a pair of tickets to a jumped up afternoon tea, but that's beside the point.


On hearing the venue was being taken to court, the artist Kirsha Kaechele expressed that she was delighted: "The men are experiencing Ladies Lounge, their experience of rejection is the artwork."

This is obviously all sorts of nonsense. Were the same concept to be applied based upon factors of say race or ability, somebody would end up in prison. There is also the expected argument of "what if it was the other way around". Sure, some golf clubs were refusing membership to females as late as this century but I've never understood why women would want to be part of such misogynist organisations. Ladies that play golf in these places are traitors to their own.

But should it not be up to the creators of artwork to decide who gets to look at it? Authorities seem to be perfectly happy to step in and say when they think members of the public should not see certain things. The Museum of Forbidden Art opened in Barcelona last year and features 42 works of art that had been denounced, banned, or even attacked usually on the grounds of sexual or religious reasons. If censorship can stop anybody seeing a piece, surely artists should have the right to exhibit to who they want?

I for one would certainly like to exclude virtual signallers posing as feminists from viewing my work. More than once these people have assumed my gender and told me that a man should not give their artwork a title such as the one I gave to my beaver painting.

As far as I can see, nobody is looking at the Ladies' Lounge paradox creatively. The conflict is actually a minefield for interesting concepts. If you can't exclude people, perhaps each can have an alternative experience.

One solution would be to make the experience different based upon gender. The women can enjoy a luxurious cream tea, whereas the guys are shunted into some dungeon to eat the equivalent of school dinners. Sadly the judgement found Mona in contravention of Tasmania's anti-discrimination act and ordered the museum to allow men entry within 28 days.

So now the installation acts as a glorified tea room with no entry requirements other than a fat purse (or wallet now). On the plus side, female visitors now have a much better chance of getting a cream pie in there


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