Shanghai gallery pulls exhibit ranking women from 'prettiest to ugliest'

The Shanghai OCAT gallery has pulled the exhibit, which ranked women from
The Shanghai OCAT gallery has pulled the exhibit, which ranked women from "prettiest to ugliest". (Song Ta)

A Chinese art gallery has removed a video exhibit that ranked the pictures of women on the level of attractiveness.

The OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) in Shanghai has apologised for hosting the "Uglier and Uglier" installation which included around 5,000 images of women on a university campus.

The seven-hour long video exhibit from male artist Song Ta, which rated each woman from "prettiest to ugliest", caused an uproar online.

The gallery released a statement on the Weibo platform, saying: "After receiving criticism, we re-evaluated the content of this artwork and the artist's explanation, we found it disrespected women, and the way it was shot has copyright infringement issues.

"As a museum that supports diversity, we will take this as a warning, improve our services and treat everyone with empathy."

Song has been unapologetic about the exhibit since he created it eight years ago and it has appeared in a number of shows over the years.

In 2019 he told Vice magazine, "I think I have the right to tell the truth” when responding to critics of the project.

Song said the images and video of the women had been sorted into several files with names including "forgivably ugly" and "unforgivably ugly".

He added he hired female assistants to take the images so it "wouldn't seem as perverted".

Weibo users called the project "misogynistic" and questioned how it could be displayed.

One person wrote: "It's already 2021, how can you still objectify women so boldly, without any shame?"

Another user added: "This artwork is not only insulting but infringes on individuals' portrait rights, and these women didn't even know they were being filmed”