Shanghai gallery pulls controversial video ranking women ‘from the prettiest to the ugliest’

Written by Megan C. Hills, CNNZixu Wang, CNN

A Shanghai gallery has apologized for exhibiting a seven-hour video by which an artist filmed passing women earlier than giving them a rating and ordering them “from the prettiest to the ugliest.”

In a statement revealed Friday, non-profit artwork gallery OCAT Shanghai apologized to any guests who had been “disturbed, hurt and left feeling uncomfortable” by the work, saying there had been “omissions in due diligence.”

In the controversial video, titled “Uglier and Uglier,” artist Song Ta filmed and ranked faculty college students at his alma mater based mostly on their look. Originally produced in 2012, the work’s Chinese title actually interprets as “school flower,” a time period used to describe stunning feminine college college students.

The video had been on show since April as a part of a bunch exhibition titled “The Circular Impact: Video Art 21.” The present has since been shut to the public, with OCAT Shanghai confirming that the work has been withdrawn.

In an exhibition program, the artist really helpful that guests arrive early at the gallery, due to the truth his video begins with these he deemed most tasty.

“Within this (seven-hour-plus) video you will see them show up accordingly from the prettiest to the ugliest,” Song is quoted as saying. “So if you want to see the campus queen, you have to go to the museum as early as possible. Otherwise, when the dusk comes, it will become a living hell in this place.”

Neither Song nor his gallery representatives responded to CNN’s request for remark.

OCAT Shanghai’s determination to pull the work adopted rising outrage on Chinese social media. A hashtag about the video had been seen 95 million occasions on microblogging platform Weibo at the time of publication. One person known as for the present’s curator to resign, saying he was “unable to distinguish between modern art and trash,” whereas one other stated the work “insulted women and infringed (on) their legal rights.”

“Disguising peeping by (framing it as) ‘art’ and exhibition, and ignoring morality and the law,” learn one other person remark. “Song Ta and OCAT are both garbage.”

In a 2019 interview with Chinese media outlet BIE, formally referred to as Vice China, Song likened his work to a road type pictures shoot. He stated he had requested a feminine assistant to assist filming, to make it “less creepy,” although in the aforementioned exhibition brochure he’s quoted saying he produced the video whereas “randomly recording passing girls.”

CNN was unable to affirm whether or not any of the women featured in the video consented to be filmed. OCAT Shanghai’s apology stated the work was “suspected of infringement and other issues.”

“OCAT Shanghai will conduct … self-reflection, self-examination and reflection on the public issues and social concerns caused by this incident,” the assertion continued. “As an art gallery that supports a diversity of art concepts, we will take this as a lesson, and constantly improve ourselves, treating everyone with empathy.”

In his BIE interview, Song stated he funded “Uglier and Uglier” with an artwork grant, which paid for 3 assistants. He divided the women into “three large folders: beauty, medium, ugly,” which have been then subdivided and ranked.

In 2013, “Uglier and Uglier” was displayed at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Song later gave a chat at the establishment, which described his works as “unambiguously humorous” and “often calling into question established societal codes of conduct.” UCCA didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.

In 2014, Song additionally reportedly staged a reside model of “Uglier and Uglier,” with a reputation translating as “One Is Worse Than Another,” the place he lined up 44 women so as of their attractiveness.

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