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07th May 2024

Women-only museum set to become a toilet to keep men out

Nina McLaughlin

“It is the greatest toilet, and men won’t be allowed to see it.”

A museum is changing into a toilet in a bid to keep men out of their Ladies Lounge exhibit.

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) was ordered to “cease refusing entry to the exhibit known as the Ladies Lounge at the Museum of Old and New Art by persons who do not identify as ladies” earlier this year.

Jason Lau filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Mona after he was refused entry to the Ladies Lounge.

The museum have challenged the decision, with the exhibit creator Kirsha Kaechele speaking out on the matter.

“I think it’s worth exercising the argument, not only for the Ladies Lounge, but for the good of art, and the law,” Kaechele said in a statement.

“We need to challenge the law to consider a broader reading of its definitions as they apply to art and the impact it has on the world, as well as the right for conceptual art to make some people (men) uncomfortable.”

The women-only space features plush furniture, and sees women served drinks by male servers. It also features some of Mona’s most sought after works, including works by Pablo Picasso and Sidney Nolan.

Since it received the court order to close the Lounge due to anti-discrimination laws, the space has been closed.

Proposals to keep the Ladies Lounge operating as a women-only space include transforming the space into a toilet or church, which would give Mona legal exemptions

“There is a fabulous toilet coming to the Ladies Lounge, and so in that sense the Ladies Lounge will operate as a ladies’ room.

“It’s a toilet that is celebrated the world round. It is the greatest toilet, and men won’t be allowed to see it,” Kaechele said, via BBC.

Important pieces from the exhibition will be moved into the toilet so women can have “uninterrupted viewing”.

Men are allowed into the space on Sundays, but they are there to focus on laundry skills such as ironing and folding.

“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,” Kaechele said.

She added that the lawsuit against the exhibition has been a “blessing in disguise.”

“Thanks to the ruling, we have no choice but to open ourselves to a whole range of enriching experiences – spiritual, educational… to discover fascinating new possibilities, and to become better,” she said.