To protest allegations of sexual harassment by Close, Sulkowicz stands in front of artworks by Close, housed inside The Met and the 86th Street subway station, wearing underwear, high heels and asterisks covering her nipples. The black asterisks drawn across her face and body allude to a New York Times article titled “Chuck Close Is Accused of Harassment. Should His Artwork Carry an Asterisk?”
An asterisk is such a small request. It’s the matter of a few points of ink. It’s so ridiculous that these people would prioritize the exclusion of a teeny little punctuation mark over a story of a woman’s abuse. These asterisks represent embodied experiences and are not these abstract punctuation marks. They have real consequences.
She also stands before Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’Avignon” in the Museum of Modern Art.
I grew up in New York. Every time we went on a field trip, I was expected to look at this violent depiction of chopped-up women’s bodies while being told it’s a fantastic painting. It felt important for me to stand in front of that as well.
Sulkowicz says she was catcalled and verbally harassed by passersby and museum guards during her performance at the Museum.