Advertisement

Erotic Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki Hit By #MeToo Protest Over Claims He Exploited His ‘Muse’

Poland’s feminist ‘Bison Ladies’ storm the Japanese artist’s Warsaw exhibition in solidarity with longtime model Kaori’s allegations of bullying

Nobuyoshi Araki, Untitled (Bodyscape), 1997. Courtesy: the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong

Nobuyoshi Araki, Untitled (Bodyscape), 1997. Courtesy: the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong

Nobuyoshi Araki, Untitled (Bodyscape), 1997. Courtesy: the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong

The Japanese erotic photographer Nobuyoshi Araki has been hit by a #MeToo-inspired protest in Poland. Donning bison masks, members of feminist art collective Żubryce Mówimy Nie (Bison Ladies, We Say No) mounted a protest of the artist’s exhibition at Warsaw’s Raster Gallery, in solidarity with Araki’s long-time model Kaori who has claimed that he subjected her to exploitation.

Araki – well known for his photography of kinbaku-bi (Japanese rope bondage) and other forms of erotica – was accused by Kaori in April of several instances of mistreatment during their 16-year working relationship. Kaori was inspired by the #MeToo movement to speak out against Araki. She did not accuse him of sexual assault, but alleged emotional bullying.

In a blog post, Kaori, who Araki called his ‘muse’, claimed that she was never given a professional contract while working with him. Her requests for privacy would regularly be ignored during photography shoots, and on a number of times, Araki failed to pay her. ‘He treated me like an object,’ Kaori wrote.

Members of Żubryce Mówimy Nie, 2018. Courtesy: Żubryce Mówimy Nie

Members of Żubryce Mówimy Nie, 2018. Courtesy: Żubryce Mówimy Nie

Members of Żubryce Mówimy Nie, 2018. Courtesy: Żubryce Mówimy Nie

Araki’s works were included in Raster Gallery’s latest group exhibition ‘Foreign Bodies’. The Bison Ladies activists took over the gallery on 2 August, holding up signs protesting ‘sanctioning violence in art’. They released a statement claiming that Araki’s ‘visions of women are provocative and violent’, and condemning ‘those turning a blind eye to the abuse of employees and relatives just because it has been legitimized by the ‘professonalism’ of the perpetrators.’

Żubryce Mówimy Nie came together last year in response to Poland’s increasingly conservative political climate. Taking inspiration from US collective Guerilla Girls, they have taken on the national symbol of the bison in their staging of anonymous, feminist protests across the country.

Advertisement

Most Read

Criticism of the show at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest comes alongside a nationalist reshaping of the...
A retrospective at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst charts the artist’s career from the 1980s to the present, from ‘fem-trash...
At the National Theatre of Wales, a performance alive with wild, tactile descriptions compels comparison between the...
There are perils in deploying bigotry to score political points, but meanings also shift from West to East
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s Picasso’: social media platform to review nudity policy after blocking Montreal Museum of Fine...
Poland’s feminist ‘Bison Ladies’ storm the Japanese artist’s Warsaw exhibition in solidarity with longtime model Kaori’...
An art historian and leading Leonardo expert has cast doubt on the painting’s attribution
How will the Black Panther writer, known for his landmark critical assessments of race, take on the quintessential...
The dissident artist has posted a series of videos on Instagram documenting diggers demolishing his studio in the...
In further news: artists for Planned Parenthood; US court rules on Nazi-looted Cranachs; Munich’s Haus der Kunst...
A mother’s death, a father’s disinterest: Jean Frémon’s semi-factual biography of the artist captures a life beyond...
Jostling with its loud festival neighbours, the UK’s best attended annual visual art festival conducts a polyphonic...
It’s not clear who destroyed the project – part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names those who have died trying to...
Dating from 1949 to the early 1960s, the works which grace the stately home feel comfortable in the ostentatious pomp...
The disconnect between public museum programming and private hire couldn’t be starker – it’s time for the arts to...
In further news: Angela Gulbenkian sued over Kusama pumpkin; and Pussy Riot re-arrested immediately after release from...
With Art Week in town, a guide to the best exhibitions to see, from sonic surveillance to Ronnie van Hout’s showdown...
Moving between figuration and abstraction, the New York-based painter and teacher made work about in-between spaces and...
Trump’s State Department is more than 3 months late in announcing its national pavilion – testament to the chaos...
The continued dominance of UK-US writers makes a mockery of the Man Booker’s ‘global outlook’
The fashion photographer has been accused on Twitter of ripping off another artist – with both represented by the same...
Katharina Cibulka has stitched ‘As long as the art market is a boys’ club, I will be a feminist,’ across her alma mater...
The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018