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article imageBoston museum accused of racism with 'Kimono Wednesday'

By Karen Graham     Jul 8, 2015 in Entertainment
Boston - Following an uproar on social media, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has cancelled "Kimono Wednesday," a popular interactive event, because protesters have labeled it racist and culturally insensitive.
On Tuesday, the museum issued a statement apologising for offending some visitors with their "Kimono Wednesday" event where museum-goers were encouraged to try on a kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, and pose in front of Claude Monet’s “La Japonaise.” They also cancelled the event.
Claude Monet was a French impressionist, and the 1876 portrait of his wife, Camille, posing in an elaborate red kimono and holding a fan is part of the exhibit. Visitors were allowed to don replicas of Japanese kimonos and be photographed in front of the painting.
The cancellation of Kimono Wednesday came about after negative feedback on social media. There were also protests at the museum, with protesters saying the exhibit was racist toward Asian people and was culturally insensitive.
Amber tweets   People gathered to sketch the model and painting. This fascination is Orientalism!
Amber tweets, "People gathered to sketch the model and painting. This fascination is Orientalism!"
Amber Ying/Twitter
In the museum's statement, MFA points out: "when the MFA’s painting, La Japonaise by Claude Monet, travelled throughout Japan for an exhibition, historically accurate reproductions of kimonos were made for visitors to try on.
Monet's painting was part of a trending fascination with everything Oriental after the Meiji restoration, when the country became open to Western trade. Of course, the trade was the result of American Imperial expansion and came about after Commodore Matthew Perry threatened to burn Japan's capital to the ground, writes ArtNet's Brian Boucher.
It still comes back to the question posed by the Los Angeles Times, were the protests an overly sensitive response to what was perceived to be something it wasn't, or another instance of political correctness and outrage culture run amok? What do you think?
More about Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Monet, japanese kimono, kimono wednesday, La Japonaise
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