Critical Debate :: Sonia Boyce

Sexism, Censorship, Politics in Manchester


J.M.Waterhouse, Hylas and the Nymphs, 1896




What story does the painting tell?

Relates to the idea of Adam and Eve / Temptation

Sexual desire leads to mans death/ immediate death for Hylas

Why was it this painting?/ why was taking it done classed as artistic?

Removed to ‘Prompt Conversation”

“Remarks that conversation will cease from removal, this obviously untrue as from being removed it has sparked conversation.

“Should museums censor works of art on political grounds?”

Sonia Boyce left a message in place of the artwork

‘passive decorative form’ ‘femme fatale’

Are these still present in pop culture today

Can you leave the paintings on the wall and challenge the meaning in a contemporary way?

If it is displayed in a different way will it still change the meaning

Could you add some critical gallery text

Would the museum let you add critical text to the piece

Tate Modern – Wasn’t  going to be possible to organise like a typical museum

’points Of contact between works of art’

If you see updated works in a more contemporarty layout would that give it a Bex context?

The painting is removed as part of a show, and made known, there is a second removal from the Manchester gallery

‘the side board under the painting/ did people ever notice this was gone

Would we call the curators decision to change the Museum without censorship?

Charles-August Mengin, Sappho, 1877

Holding a ‘liar’ small harp this would define her as a poet, as opposed to bones opinion in the guardian

During the performance Boyce invitied transgender performers to react and perform alongside artworks // they look to be mirroring the paintings

Tom Hunter, Resevoir, 2002




It is a reaction to the nymphs

we read the females on the recreation as ‘less’ naked they are probably wearing clothes under the water

It’s easier to project into the male character in waterhouse

One woman is looking towards the camera/ viewer

is it supposed to be a direct recreation is it nort intended to be a direct recreation

The nudity taken up less space in the photograph

Is it a reservoir or is this taken in the canal, does the title reflect a meaning onto the viewer

Is this work a sexualised narrative

Is the element that the woman are more easy to relate to as they are the ‘same’ figure that you engage with in real life

Also the water and the environment makes it not look too inviting

Less sexual, more as a step into womanhood

The Mona Lisa was stolen. In 1911 the cause of the removal is different, is the effect the same

If not how does it look different?

Want what you cannot have

Christo, wrapped monument to Leonardo, 1970




Is covering the artwork like removing it from the wall?

Distortion rather than change…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.