A petition has been launched demanding that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC remove a 1938 painting of a young woman with her underwear exposed due to the “current climate around sexual assault”on the website Care 2.
The piece, “Thérèse Dreaming” is by Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, known as Balthus, a Polish-French modern artist.
“The artist of this painting, Balthus, had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls and this painting is undeniably romanticizing the sexualization of a child. Given the current climate around sexual assault … The Met is romanticizing voyeurism and the objectification of children” wrote Mia Merrill, the former Director of Talent at Interplay Ventures and Capital “I am simply asking The Met to more carefully vet the art on its walls, and understand what this painting insinuates.”
She concludes: ‘Ultimately, it’s a small ask in consideration of how expansive their art collection is (they can easily hang up another painting), how overtly sexual the painting is, and the current news headlines highlighting a macro issue about the public health and safety of women.
A representative for the museum said it won’t remove the painting because art is meant to reflect many time periods — not just the current one.
“[Our] mission is to collect, study, conserve, and present significant works of art across all times and cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas,” said spokesman Kenneth Weine.
“Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation, and visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present.”
The petition, which was launched Friday, had has to date over 7,000 signatures.