World-famous art works by Picasso have been hung in the ladies' toilets after a tribunal ruled men were allowed access into a female-only exhibition.

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart had been displaying the artworks in Ladies Lounge, a women's-only exhibition and area.

The space had been created by artist Kirsha Kaechele, the wife of MONA's billionaire owner, David Walsh, and opened in 2020.

The lounge was made for women only as an artistic statement about females historically being excluded from public places, with Ms Kaechele wanting men to have a similar experience.

The artist said 'the rejection of men is a very important part of the artwork' and that the ladies lounge is 'titillating, it's fun, it's exciting … it's naughty'.

But in April, the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) ruled that the Ladies Lounge was discriminatory after a man lodged a complaint.

Jason Lau said when he visited the MONA in 2023, he was not told he could not go into the women's-only exhibit. 

TASCAT's deputy president, Richard Grueber, said in his ruling that he was 'not satisfied that the discrimination experienced by Mr Lau is designed to promote equal opportunity for women'.

Mr Grueber gave the museum 28 days to start allowing men into the exhibition - but the Ladies Lounge has been closed ever since.

On Monday, Ms Kaechele posted a video to her Instagram account showing some of the artwork that was originally in the Ladies Lounge now adorning the walls in toilet cubicles.

'A new exhibition at Mona. Just for ladies…' she wrote.

'(We never had female toilets at Mona before, they were all unisex. 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…).

'We’ll get the Lounge open again as a church / school / boutique glamping accommodation / facilities / etc under Section 26 of the Anti Discrimination Act, but in the meantime, enjoy! (ladies).'

Section 26 of Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 allows for a person to discriminate against another person in a way that 'promotes equal opportunity for a group of people who are disadvantaged or have a special need because of a prescribed attribute'.

Mr Lau argued against this statutory defence of the Ladies Lounge, saying Section 26 'was designed to permit positive discrimination and not negative discrimination'.

'This exhibit is clearly designed to reject all men … I would argue that it's not in the spirit of section 26,' he said.

Following the announcement, the artist's followers showed support for moving the Picassos to the toilets.

'Genius. Absolutely love your work,' one wrote.

'Love his work and thank you for making art accessible for us to view in this way.' another wrote.

Ms Kaechele announced on May 7 that the museum would be appealing TASCAT'S decision in the Supreme Court.

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2024-06-25T04:10:57Z dg43tfdfdgfd