Oct. 2, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Posters are up in Greenpoint and Williamsburg showing a naked group of men all accused of sexual assault and misconduct—Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, President Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, and Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The images, one near the corner of Manhattan and Driggs Avenue, and the other near North 6th Street and Bedford Avenue, are poster versions of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, a painting by Angela China, a New York City based artist.
China, who also goes by Gumshoeart, says the painting is based on Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, which proved shocking and controversial when it was completed in 1907 for the way it portrayed five women from a brothel.
China’s interpretation of the painting, similar to the way many have come to view it, is of a “degrading and uncomplimentary objectification of women,” she said on Instagram. The painting’s jagged edges, sharp lines, and mask-like faces all work to strip the women, likely victims of sexual assault, of their identity and agency.
Her goal in recreating the painting is to take power away from those who have been accused of sexual misconduct and assault.
“This is a painting for survivors, she said, adding, “The faces of these men are a representation of all and my assaulters. Now they are vulnerable and degraded. Now I have the power.”
The posters, pasted on several walls around the city with some already taken down, featured the original mask-like face on one of the figures. But in recent days, the artist has gone around updating the posters to include Kavanaugh’s face, noting she “felt a strong urgency to make an adjustment” to the piece.
Many have snapped and shared photos of the posters on social media, including captions in support of the message.
“Nailed it,” one Instagram user wrote.
“A powerful reflection of an uncomfortable reality,” another user wrote.
Bill Cosby was recently sentenced to prison for at least three years for sexual assault, while Harvey Weinstein faces charges of rape and criminal sex acts. Last year, Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct in a BuzzFeed report, which led to a wave of similar claims by many others.
Trump has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, while Kavanaugh, his pick for the Supreme Court, has been accused by several women of sexual assault and misconduct, with the FBI now investigating allegations against him.