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OCAT Shanghai closes after anger over women’s classification videos – ARTnews.com

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Following public outrage over the exhibition of a video work that ranked women “from the most beautiful to the ugliest”, OCAT Shanghai, a non-profit art gallery, has been closed indefinitely. In a statement dated June 18, OCAT Shanghai said “omissions in due diligence” had led to the work being included in a group exhibition and apologized to any visitor who was “disturbed, hurt and left uncomfortable” by the video. .
For the work of 2013, entitled Uglier and Uglier, artist Song Ta filmed about 5,000 female college students at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, the artist’s alma mater, and compiled the footage into an eight-hour video. The controversial piece had been featured since April at the group show “The Circular Impact: Video Art 21”, which included 21 artists and was organized by Dai Zhuoqun, a Beijing-based independent curator. (The exhibition was scheduled to last until July 11.)

In his statement to the artist, Song recommended that visitors arrive early at the gallery, as the video begins with the women he found most attractive. “So if you want to see the queen of campus, you have to go to the museum as soon as possible,” Song wrote. “Otherwise, when dusk comes, there will be a living hell in this place.”

On Thursday evening, a Weibo post by user Sanaya One criticizing the piece was shared on Twitter by Afra Wang, a Mandarin-language podcast co-host Chinese murmurs. A user on Chinese blogging platform Weibo said the show curator was “able to distinguish between modern art and trash”, while others called the video a violation of women’s legal rights. As of Friday afternoon, OCAT Shanghai removed a view – and then closed completely.

“After receiving the criticism, we re-evaluated the content of this work of art and the artist’s explanation, we found that it does not respect women and the way it was shot has issues of copyright infringement,” the museum said in a statement to Weibo. “Thank you for your concern, criticism and oversight. OCAT Shanghai will reflect on the public issues and social concerns arising from this incident. As a museum that supports the concept of diversity, we will take this as a tip to show more sensitivity to everyone. “

In a 2019 interview with Vice China, Song said he had a female assistant who helped women films to appear “less boring”. His team then digitally organized the images under headings such as “ugly forgiven” and “ugly unforgivable”. In the interview he defended the work, saying, “I think I have the right to tell the truth.”

The song originally produced the piece in 2012 and was included the following year at UCCA Beijing “On | Off: China’s Young Artists in Theory and Practice”, which featured the work of 50 emerging Chinese artists.The museum later invited Song to delivered a speech on his art, which he described in a statement as “no doubt humorous” and “often questioning socially established codes of conduct.” In a similar performance work also from 2013, Song reportedly ranked 30 women volunteers according to attractiveness and then made them walk on a runway in that order.

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