Tasmania’s Mona Museum Embroiled in Fresh Scandal After Admitting to Showing Forged Picasso Paintings - The World News

Tasmania’s Mona Museum Embroiled in Fresh Scandal After Admitting to Showing Forged Picasso Paintings

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, which made the headlines earlier this year for banning people who “do not identify as ladies” from viewing its “Ladies Lounge” installation, is in the news again.

This time it’s because several artworks in the show, which the museum claimed were by Pablo Picasso, are actually fakes. It turns out they were painted by artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele, the wife of Mona’s wealthy owner, David Walsh.

Mona came clean to the Guardian Australia on Wednesday after suspicion was raised by the newspaper and the Picasso Administration.

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Kaechele curated “Ladies Lounge,” which opened in 2020 and involved the female-only audience being pampered by performing male butlers and served champagne. The fake Picassos were moved from the lounge to a ladies’ toilet cubicle in the museum after a court ruled that the exhibition was discriminatory and must admit men. The case was brought by an Australian man who claimed that the show discriminated his gender because it violated Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act.

In court, Kaechele said the exhibition was “a response to the lived experience of women forbidden from entering certain spaces throughout history.” She also reportedly said she was “delighted” upon learning that Mona was being sued.

Before owning up to the forgeries, Mona said that Kaechele inherited the artworks from her great-grandmother, whom she claimed was once a lover of Picasso. One of the paintings is a replica of Luncheon on the Grass, After Manet (1961) by the Spanish painter.

Kaechele also admitted that other works displayed in “Ladies Lounge” were not genuine, including “antique” spears and a rug that the museum said belonged to Queen Mary of Denmark.

She wrote in a blog post that she forged the paintings when the installation was created because “it had to be as opulent and sumptuous as possible… if men were to feel as excluded as possible, the Lounge would need to display the most important artworks in the world – the very best.” Kaechele added that she “knew of a number of Picasso paintings [she] could borrow from friends, but none of them were green, and [she] wished for the Lounge to be monochrome.” She also wrote she didn’t want to pay for the insuring real Picassos.

At the end of her post, she apologizes to the Picasso Administration, which manages the late painter’s estate. “I am very very sorry for causing you this problem,” she wrote in French.

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