Shanghai art gallery apologises for video ranking women ‘from prettiest to ugliest’

Shanghai art gallery apologises for video ranking women ‘from prettiest to ugliest’
Seven-hour-long video prompted accusations of misogyny on social media

An art gallery in Shanghai has apologised for displaying a video in which an artist filmed women and ranked them from “prettiest to ugliest”.

The seven-hour-long video, entitled “Uglier and Uglier”, had been displayed at the non-profit art gallery OCAT Shanghai as part of a group exhibition entitled The Circular Impact: Video Art 21.

Originally created in 2012 by the artist Song Ta, the video includes roughly 5,000 images and clips of women on a real-life university campus. The subjects were ranked by how attractive the artist considered them to be.

Following criticism on social media, the OCAT Shanghai gallery issued a statement confirming that the exhibit had been removed from display.

“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,” wrote the institution on Weibo, one of China’s biggest social media platforms (per BBC translation).

“As a museum that supports diversity, we will take this as a warning, improve our services and treat everyone with empathy.”

Song has previously defended his work, telling the Chinese-language Vice magazine in 2019 that he had “the right to tell the truth”.

“Uglier and Uglier”, titled “Campus Flower” in Chinese, also caused controversy and drew accusations of sexism when it was first exhibited back in 2013.

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