China: Shanghai gallery pulls down the video ranking women ‘from the prettiest to the ugliest’
Recently an art gallery in the Chinese city of Shanghai grabbed headlines for promoting an exhibit that ranked images of women from “prettiest to ugliest”.
The video artwork “Uglier and Uglier”, by male artist Song Ta, featured about 5,000 images and videos of women in real life on a university campus.
It was a seven-hour video in which the artist filmed passing women before giving them a score and ordering them “from the prettiest to the ugliest.”
After an outcry on social media, the OCAT Shanghai gallery said it had removed the exhibit.
“After receiving criticism, we re-evaluated the content of this artwork and the artist’s explanation, we found it disrespected women, and the way it was shot has copyright infringement issues,” the museum said on China’s Weibo social media platform.
“As a museum that supports diversity, we will take this as a warning, improve our services and treat everyone with empathy.”
They further apologized to any visitors who had been “disturbed, hurt and left feeling uncomfortable” by the work, saying there had been “omissions in due diligence.”
The video had been on display since April as part of a group exhibition titled “The Circular Impact: Video Art 21.” The show has since been shut to the public, with OCAT Shanghai confirming that the work has been withdrawn.
In an exhibition program, the artist recommended that visitors arrive early at the gallery, due to the fact his video begins with those he deemed most attractive.
“Within this video, you will see them show up accordingly from the prettiest to the ugliest,” Song is quoted as saying. “So if you want to see the campus queen, you have to go to the museum as early as possible. Otherwise, when the dusk comes, it will become a living hell in this place.”
In 2013, “Uglier and Uglier” was displayed at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Song later gave a talk at the institution, which described his works as “unambiguously humorous” and “often calling into question established societal codes of conduct.”
In 2014, Song also reportedly staged a live version of “Uglier and Uglier,” with a name translating as “One Is Worse Than Another,” where he lined up 44 women in order of their attractiveness.
The reprehensible act of numbering women on their looks by the male artist Song Ta depicts the artist’s mindset, but more so of the platform that featured such sexist and filthy content.
Women are often blamed for carrying the torch of feminism, speaking up for equal rights while the reality is they are struggling to be seen as humans than mere objects of gratification; equal rights are a far fetched dream at least in most parts of the world.
Written by Ruth Jane