An art gallery in China apologised 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.
The artist then ranked them according to how attractive he found them.
After an outcry, 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.”
Song created the controversial exhibit in 2013 and it has appeared in several shows since then.
In a 2019 interview with Vice magazine, Song said he and a team of assistants had digitally sorted the images under titles such as “forgivably ugly” and “unforgivably ugly”.
He defended the work saying: “I think I have the right to tell the truth.”
Many commentators on Weibo were outraged that the gallery had displayed and advertised the “misogynistic” and “intrusive” artwork.
“It’s already 2021, how can you still objectify women so boldly, without any shame?” one said.
“This artwork is not only insulting but infringes on individuals’ portrait rights, and these women didn’t even know they were being filmed,” another wrote.