Museum Admits Picassos Are Fake, Part of a Stunt

Kirsha Kaechele comes forward in Australia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2024 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Jul 12, 2024 7:33 AM CDT
Museum Hangs Picasso Over Toilet to Keep It From Men
In this undated photo provided by the Museum of Old and New Art, Kirsha Kaechele poses with a painting in Hobart, Australia.   (Jesse Hunniford/MONA via AP)
UPDATE Jul 12, 2024 7:33 AM CDT

The Picassos were fake, as it turns out. The curator of a controversial exhibit at a museum in Australia has admitted that she painted three purported works by the artist that were hung in a women's restroom, reports the AP. Kirsha Kaechele moved her exhibit to the restroom to protest a court ruling that she could not stage a women's-only exhibit. The works (she also forged some non-Picassos) were up more than three years before the Picasso Administration in Paris wrote her a letter asking about them. A Guardian reporter also started asking questions. Kaechele says she has waited "patiently" all this time for someone to ask.

Jun 25, 2024 10:00 AM CDT

In April, a judge ruled an exhibit meant for women's eyes only at an Australian art museum discriminated against men. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania was given 28 days to stop refusing entry on the basis of gender. And yet, Kirsha Kaechele's "Ladies Lounge" continues. As ARTnews reports, the American artist found a way around the ruling by lining the walls of a women's bathroom with works by Pablo Picasso. She'd previously vowed to never let men into the "Ladies Lounge" installation, featuring a plush room in which women could take in art and sip champagne, as it was specifically designed to give men a taste of women's exclusion from the nation's pubs before 1965.

MONA previously had only unisex bathrooms, "but then the Ladies Lounge had to close thanks to a lawsuit brought on by a man. And I just didn't know what to do with all those Picassos," Kaechele, who's married to gallery owner David Walsh, wrote Monday on Instagram, where she shared video footage of what appeared to be Picasso's 1961 painting "Luncheon on the Grass (After Manet)" and a sketch hanging over a toilet. The video is set to Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim's "Can't Hold Us Down." "This is for my girls all around the world / Who have come across a man that don't respect your worth," the song goes.

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Last month, Kaechele announced the museum would appeal the ruling by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, per the Guardian. Kaechele argues Section 26 of Australia's Anti-Discrimination Act allows for special measures to promote equal opportunity for disadvantaged groups, including women. The law states a person may discriminate on the basis of gender, in certain situations, in a religious institution, educational facility, and accommodations. In the Instagram post, Kaechele said she planned to reopen the true "Ladies Lounge" "as a church/school/boutique glamping accomodation [sic]/facilities/etc." "In the meantime, enjoy! (ladies)," she wrote. (More discrimination stories.)

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