MFA Boston To Host Talk on Kimono Controversy


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) is holding a talk on February 7, reflecting on last summer’s protests, counter-protests, and discussions about institutional racism provoked by its controversial “Kimono Wednesday” event.

As part of a public engagement effort, the museum had invited visitors to try on traditional kimonos and pose for photographs in front of Claude Monet’s “La Japonaise,” 1876, a painting that depicts his wife donning a kimono — the artist’s wry nod to the Parisian mania for Japan and all things Japanese.

In June, the program sparked protests against perceived institutional racial stereotyping, which led to the museum canceling the event and offering an apology for its unintended cultural insensitivity. A counter-protest followed, inviting further discussion around cultural appropriation versus cultural affirmation. MFA director Matthew Teitelbaum then announced plans for the February discussion.

Elena Creef, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Wellesley College, will moderate the conversation between Xtina Huilan Wang (member of Decolonize Our Museums), Reiko Tomii (an independent scholar and co-director of PoNJA-GenKon), and Ryan Wong (a curator and freelance writer). See more details here.

Noelle Bodick (@nbodick)

(Photo: via Wikipedia)