Not even the appearance of goodness

Suzanne Moore on the RA shop v Jess DeWahls:

Her work is desirable and sold in the shop of a prestigious museum. Yet her thoughts which she sometimes blogs about, these terrible thoughts mean that now this work must be banned from the museum’s gift shop because it “conflicts” with the values of “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” that the institution stands for.

You know, I would have thought that the values the institution stands for are values that relate to art. It’s not a social work institution or a political institution, it’s an artistic institution. There are basic, background values that we generally assume public institutions adhere to, like not barring The Wrong Kind of People, but they’re basic and background, not up front and in your face.

And then, of course, whether they’re in your face or in a small closet two floors below ground level, it’s a funny kind of equality and diversity and inclusion that banishes a woman artist because she thinks men are men.

I am , of course talking about the completely ludicrous decision by the shop of the Royal Academy to no longer stock the work of Jess De Wahls because she “cannot accept people’s unsubstantiated assertions that they are in fact the opposite sex to when they were born.” She thinks that being female is not simply a feeling.

Maya Forstater won her case last week but clearly the Royal Academy does not understand the Equality Act. Nor do they mind hanging paintings on the wall by a man who bought girls from their mothers and gave them syphilis  –  Paul Gauguin – or selling his prints in their gift shop. Diverse? Inclusive? Equal?  Eric Gill who sexually abused his daughters was an associate of the Royal Academy. Indeed the place is full of art made by those with views that certainly do not embody the mantra of values that every institution now intones .

It would be nice if we could get someone from the Royal Academy shop to explain the thinking here. Why Gaugin & Gill fine but DeWahls banished?

What the Royal Academy has achieved here is not even the appearance of goodness but the appearance of stupidity. Does any of this – the banning of textiles – help a single trans person? 

Stupidity but also unabashed bullying of a woman, all too similar to the bullying of Rowling and Forstater and Murphy and Millar and Suzanne herself.

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