MONA appeals against ladies-only lounge discrimination ruling

16 May 2024

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art may turn its controversial “ladies only” art exhibition into a toilet to allow it to keep banning men.

It follows an April decision by Tasmania’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal that the Ladies Lounge exhibition was discriminatory.

After a complaint by Sydney man Jason Lau, who had been refused entry to the exhibit, the tribunal ruled MONA had 28 days to lift its ban on access by people who didn’t identify as ladies.

On Tuesday, artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele announced the gallery – which is owned by her husband David Walsh – had lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court of Tasmania.

“It’s worth exercising the argument, not only for the Ladies Lounge, but for the good of art and the law,” she said.

“Ladies love the lounge – a space away from men – given what we have been through for the last several millennia, we need it.”

The curtained-off exhibition has been temporarily closed but Kaechele said she had “come to the conclusion that we can qualify for all of the exemptions … [under] the Anti-Discrimination Act” – with plans to reopen it as a “bathroom”, “church” or place of “education”.

Kaechele said she could see circumstances in which men would be allowed in the lounge.

“We might allow them in on Sunday – and this would be part of our engagement (with an exemption) … as a school,” she said.
“Perhaps women could bring their laundry in and every Sunday we could allow the men in for a few hours of instructions on folding and ironing.”

Read the full interview with Kaechele here

News article from The Daily News Australia

Image credit: MONA curator Kirsha Kaechele poses for a photograph in front of Tasmania’s Supreme Court. (photo by Jesse Hunniford, courtesy Museum of Old and New Art)