It’s Not Just Hollywood; Sexual Harassment Alive and Well in New York’s Art Scene

A man placing his hand on his colleague's bottom.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

After the Weinstein scandal broke, scores of women came forward about their experiences with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. But the problem isn’t only confined to Hollywood.

This past Wednesday, Artforum magazine publisher Knight Landesman resigned after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him. The lawsuit alleges that Landesman victimized at least nine women. Some of the complaints go back nearly ten years.

Artforum has since released a statement on the matter, and has vowed to create a better work environment for its employees.

“In the past days, we have met with our staff and they have told us that Knight Landesman engaged in unacceptable behavior and caused a hostile work environment,” the statement reads. “We will do everything in our ability to bring our workplace in line with our editorial mission, and we will use this opportunity to transform Artforum into a place of transparency, equity, and with zero tolerance for sexual harassment of any kind.”

The fallout from the scandal also led to the resignation of Artforum’s Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Kuo.

“I resigned because I felt that, in light of the troubling allegations surrounding one of our publishers, I could no longer serve as a public representative of Artforum,” Kuo wrote in an email to ARTnews.

Landesman, 67, is one of the most influential and successful figures in New York’s art scene. Throughout his career, Landesman has had the pleasure of attending the finest galleries and museums the world has to offer. His frequent travels have also allowed him to form powerful connections with elite figures—a career advantage that he allegedly used to exploit up-and-coming female artists.

According to the lawsuit, Landesman committed numerous offenses against at least nine women, which include groping them, sending them vulgar messages, attempting to kiss them, and even retaliating against them when they turned down his advances. The only named plaintiff is Amanda Schmitt, a curator who started working at Artforum in 2009 when she was just 21.

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About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
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