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Every Rape in the Met Museum
By: Macushla Robinson
If you type the word ‘rape’ into the Met Museum’s collection database, it returns some 181 results. The works range from large paintings and sculptures to print folios, ceramic plates, pocket watches, vases, snuff boxes and other decorative homewares. Only six of the total 181 pieces are made by women artists.
Last year, Macushla Robinson began documenting and analyzing all 181 works that surfaced with that keyword search. Art history has traded on stories of rape to create drama, to set up opportunities to paint nude women, and to display the mastery of the artist over his subject. But these images, and the way we describe them, shape how we think about women’s bodies and what can be done to them. Millions of people visit the Met Museum every year.
She selectively extracted and arranged the existing texts, drawing attention to the way that museums have long glamorized and at the same time minimized sexual violence.