Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse
In a controversial move the Manchester Art Gallery has removed from their public collection the painting Hylas and the Nymphs, by JW Waterhouse. The painting features young naked women enticing a man to his doom from a story in greek mythology.
Manchester Art Gallery has said, “We have left a temporary space in Gallery 10 in place of Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse to prompt conversation about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection… The gallery exists in a world full of intertwined issues of gender, race, sexuality and class which affect us all. How could artworks speak in more contemporary, relevant ways?”
Postcards of the image have also been removed from the gallery shop, and the painting replaced with a notice explaining why the painting has been removed, and asking the public to give their reaction on post-its which can be applied to the notice, or tweet under #MAGSoniaBoyce.
The removal has been filmed and will feature in a solo show by artist Sonia Boyce, opening at the gallery in March. Curator Clare Gannaway has said that the current climate around women in the arts and the #metoo debate had impacted on the decision to remove the painting.