With regards to recent allegations against so many well know with these days, people are getting much more sensitive to bodies, touching, and what should be seen and known. The appropriateness of almost everything is being called on the carpet lately and it seems museums will not be left out of the intense scrutiny.
There was a recent complaint lodged about one painting in particular “Thérèse Dreaming” by Balthus, a 20th century French painter. Balthus depicted a young girl getting ready to bathe, sitting in her chair with one foot propped on the chair. The angle in which she is sitting, shows the subjects undergarments and gives the viewer a slightly inappropriate glimpse as to what is under her dress. I know that the subject matter can be a bit touchy what with all of the accusations regarding inappropriate touching around the world currently.
I understand the complainants position about finding this painting uncomfortable, but on the outside where is the line drawn between offensive and appropriate? The painting in question has been in existence for over 70 years and has no plans on being hidden as the museum saw fit to refuse the removal of the art piece. Their stance on the matter is sound. If we take down this one piece, it will leave the door open for more art pieces to fall under art scrutiny and banishment. And where would it end?
There are many art pieces that I would rather not see again. Some bizarre, others way too personal, but I would never suggest they come down. Do you want to know why? Art is individualized. It doesn’t cater to just one person and art should wake you up, make your feelings raw, and get people talking about good and bad subjects that need exploring. If this one lady was upset by this one picture, then obviously the true meaning of art: to enjoy or upset, love or hate, feel peace, anger, or feel anything has reached its mark and maybe she needs to talk . Enjoy art, even if you dislike the piece, and talk to your fellow man because that’s why we have museums, to stir conversation and create kindred art spirits.
And bravo to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for defending the free will of the art goer to interpret the painting for themselves.