Over 7000 women denounce sexual harassment in art world

Over 7000 women denounce sexual harassment in art world



Los Angeles - Cindy Sherman, Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer joined more than 7000 women, including some of the biggest names in contemporary art, to denounce sexual harassment by people who hold positions of power in their milieu.

The open letter followed last week's resignation of Knight Landesman, an art world figure known for his colourful suits, as co-publisher of leading arts magazine Artforum, after a lawsuit was filed accusing him of sexual harassment.

"We are artists, arts administrators, assistants, curators, directors, editors, educators, gallerists, interns, scholars, students, writers and more - workers of the art world - and we have been groped, undermined, harassed, infantilised, scorned, threatened and intimidated by those in positions of power who control access to resources and opportunities," the letter read.

The text was titled "Not Surprised", in reference to a work by Holzer, known for her installations with broad statements.

"Abuse of power comes as no surprise," the letter read.

High-profile figure

The complaint against Landesman was filed by former Artforum employee Amanda Schmitt, and it made allegations of sexual harassment against eight other people.

Landesman is only the latest high-profile figure at the centre of claims of abuse in the wake of the downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"There is an urgent need to share our accounts of widespread sexism, unequal and inappropriate treatment, harassment and sexual misconduct, which we experience regularly, broadly and acutely," the open letter read.

"The resignation of one publisher from one high-profile magazine does not solve the larger, more insidious problem: An art world that upholds inherited power structures at the cost of ethical behaviour," it continued.

"We have been silenced, ostracised, pathologized, dismissed as 'overreacting' and threatened when we have tried to expose sexually and emotionally abusive behaviour.

"We will be silenced no longer."

Curator Martha Kirszenbaum, who is among the letter's first 100 signatories and confirmed the latest total number of signatures, said that "the Weinstein scandal paved the way for revelations in many other circles".

"We realised that we had all experienced this sort of thing," added Kirszenbaum.

Since revelations first became public earlier this month against Weinstein, who has been accused of harassment, assault or rape by dozens of women, other figures have been similarly felled in journalism, haute cuisine, fashion and other fields.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

News24 (@News24) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month. South Africa

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes