This N' That: Keep In The Know With Photography News
By Ashley Yu
Museum of Sex Ex-Employee Sues
Opened in 2002, the Museum of Sex has had...interesting publicity since its inauguration, from its polemic exhibition on Araki to its glamorous gift shops of toys not suitable for children. Now, a former tour guide is suing the institution for allegedly failing to protect her and other employees from sexual harassment by visitors.
Plaintiff Katherine McMahon claims that many employees were subject to continual harassment and assault where drunk male visitors would grope them and interrogate them on their private sexual lives. One case involved a couple asking permission to have sex in the bouncy castle made out of breasts, that have attracted a plethora of Instagrammers. When rejected, they asked McMahon if they could “spank her” instead. The museum’s management, however, dismissed the incident as simply caused by “the nature of the establishment.” So much for a safe discourse on sexuality.
Employees have issued an email to management demanding stricter implementation and proper protocol, especially taking into consideration that museum hours have extended into the rowdy weekend nights, when visitors are more than likely to reek of their drunken escapades.
Upon further inquiry on sexual harassment claims, McMahon has been met with silence from its human resources department, regarding the musuem’s rules on filing complaints.
Gloria Vanderbilt Dies at 95
Gloria Venderbilt, most renowned as for her tumultuous socialite family and $100M empire of women’s jeans, passed away after her long battle with stomach cancer in her Manhattan home on June 17, 2019. She is survived by three children. Her death was confirmed by her son, the beloved CNN news reporter, Anderson Cooper.
Born into the illustrious Vanderbilt family in 1924, Gloria Vanderbilt was victim of a traumatic and highly publicized custody battle in the 1930s between her mother and paternal aunt, following the death of her father from cirrhosis. She inherited a $2.5M trust fund (now worth $37M) from her late father, though constantly spent by her negligent her teenage mother. With accusations of lesbian love affairs with the British royal family whipping around the gossip columns, the scandalous trial ended with Gloria becoming a ward of her aunt.
Though not part of the Hollywood fame, Gloria’s socialite status came hand in hand with attention-grabbing love affairs with many of its starlets, including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Marlon Brando. Running in the same circles as Charlie Chaplin and Truman Capote (who allegedly modeled Holly Golightly after Vanderbilt herself in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), she would enter into the cycle of marriage and divorce with three men, including an abusive mobster and the famous conductor Leopold Stokowski.
While she sought success in multiple endeavours in theatre, acting, and writing, it would be in fashion design that would make her name in the mid-70s. In contrast to the jeans that were often exclusively designed for men, she designed the slim-fit, butt-hugging jeans that became the staple of women’s closets for decades to come. Exploiting her household family name, her own jeans brand soon expanded into sweaters, perfumes, liqueurs, and jewellery.
Despite such an enviable lifestyle, the Vanderbilt heiress lived a turbulent life. From witnessing one of her son’s suicide after a psychotic break (Carter Cooper) to selling her property to repay the IRS for tax fraud, Gloria Vanderbilt’s life was as enigmatic and iconic as the name she inherited.
Should You Be Fired For Tweeting About Politics? Ask Director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum
Peter Schäfer, who has led Berlin’s Jewish Museum since 2014, has resigned due to the heavy criticism he has received for being too publically involved in the Israel vs. Palestine debate. It all began with a tweet that linked to an article, published by a left-wing German newspaper, urging the German Parliament not to pass a resolution against a Palestinian-led group (BDS) that supports boycotts against Israel.
Though the exact reason for Scäfer’s resignation is not stated, the museum urged his resignation to “avert further damage from the the Jewish Museum, Berlin.”
After Schäfer’s tweet, the German Parliament declared BDS to be anti-Semitic. Germany is the first in the European Union to pass such a resolution. Schäfer joined the museum in 2014 and is no stranger to such polemity. Previously, he had invited a Palestinian scholar to lecture at the museum while later that year, the museum opened an exhibition, titled “Welcome to Jerusalem,” was criticized for its anti-Israeli sentiments.
Museum Interns Finally Being Paid
Finally, after years of debate, the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) approved a resolution calling on all museum to pay their interns. Unless an intern is receiving academic credit for their work, all interns will be paid for their work since such experience is critical opportunities for students to enter the workforce, especially if they are considering a career in museums.
The director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Jill Medvedow has stated that “providing paid internships is an important step for the art museum field in creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive set of opportunities. By failing to do so,” she continues, “these experiences are only accessible to those who are already financially secure and, often, people who have established career networks available to them.”
This is particularly encouraging when earlier this month, a Google Spreadsheet circulated around museum staff to reveal the details of chronically underpaid employees/interns in museums across the nation. Now with over 2500 employee details provided, the AAMD hopes to implement change in all art institutions.
Met Honors World Refugee Day
The question “What would the Met’s walls look like if there were no refugees?” was emblazoned across the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art galleries on June 20, widely recognized as World Refugee Day.
As part of the wider global initiative with the humanitarian organization Internal Rescue Committee (IRC), the Met aims to highlight the contributions of refugees to hosting countries. The Met not only boldly shrouded Marc Chagall’s iconic painting “The Lovers,” but they also spotlighted nine artworks created by refugee artists, such as those of Max Ernst, Piet Mondrian and Mark Rothko, with a yellow sign that states, “this work is made by a refugee.
Chagall’s granddaughter, Bella Meyer, was the Met’s guest of honor to shroud her grandfather’s artwork, reminding visitors of how Chagall and his muse fled to America to avoid Nazi persecution.
The chairman of the Met’s department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Sheena Wagstaff, said in a press conference, that “there’s an increasingly popular conviction that museums cannot any longer be neutral sites, but they hold responsibility to be vehicles of social justice and civic exchange. Art can inspire a different kind of understanding, one grounded in the common sense of humanity.”