Museum Hangs Picassos In Ladies’ Toilets In Response To Court Ruling

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art has relegated part of its Picasso collection to a female toilet cubicle, after a court ruling that it must admit men to a female-only exhibition.

Artist Kirsha Kaechele, the wife of Mona’s billionaire owner, David Walsh, posted a video on social media on Monday showing at least two paintings by the late Spanish artist hanging in a toilet.

Picassos were among the artworks previously hanging in the museum’s Ladies Lounge, a women-only area created by Kaechele which included, as part of the artist’s intent, men’s experiences of exclusion.

But in April, The Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tascat) found that the Ladies Lounge was discriminatory after a complaint lodged by a man who was denied entry in 2023.

The museum was given 28 days to cease refusing entry to the Ladies Lounge based on gender. The exhibition has been closed ever since.

“A new exhibition at Mona. Just for ladies…” Kaechele posted with the video on Monday, pointing out that prior to the tribunal’s ruling, all toilets at Mona were unisex.

“But then the Ladies Lounge had to close thanks to a lawsuit brought on by a man,” the artist posted.

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“And I just didn’t know what to do with all those Picassos.”

Kaechele went on to suggest the museum would seek to reclassify the Ladies Lounge “as a church / school / boutique glamping accommodation” under section 26 of Tasmania’s Anti Discrimination Act, which permits under what circumstances people can be denied access based on gender.

The Ladies Lounge, which opened in 2020, saw women who entered the space pampered by male butlers and served champagne while surrounded by some of the museum’s finest pieces of art.

Kaechele said in March she was “absolutely delighted” the case had made it to the tribunal, after a complaint by Sydney man Jason Lau.

“The men are experiencing Ladies Lounge, their experience of rejection is the artwork,” she said at the time.

On 7 May, Kaechele announced the museum would be appealing the decision in the supreme court.

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