Last month, The Observer‘s Ben Quinn and Cristina Ruiz broke the news that Anthony d’Offay, a hugely influential retired art dealer, had been accused by several women of sexual harassment. The same day, the National Galleries of Scotland and the Tate decided to “suspend any further contact with Mr D’Offay until these matters have been clarified,” according to an official statement sent to The Guardian.
The 78-year-old d’Offay denies the allegations and has said that he’s “appalled.”
Now, in an Instagram post, the feminist art collective We Are Not Surprised (WANS) has called for the Tate to “remove Anthony d’Offay from their programme,” which would include scrubbing d’Offay’s name from the museum’s Artists Rooms and the Turbine Hall entrance.
A major figure in the UK art world, d’Offay once represented the likes of Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and Rachel Whiteread. In 2008, he established the Tate’s Artist Rooms, selling almost his entire collection to the galleries for the price he’d originally paid (rather than the collection’s accumulated worth). A touring collection, Artist Rooms has since doubled in size and includes artists like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Diane Arbus, and Gilbert & George. D’Offay stepped down as ex-officio curator of Artist Rooms in December 2017.
According to The Observer, three women who had previously worked with d’Offay, all unnamed, came forward with stories of unwanted grabbing, forced kissing, and lewd comments in public gatherings taking place between 1997 and 2004. One woman said he called her while breathing heavily, possibly masturbating, in his bathtub.
A fourth woman filed a complaint with police about “malicious messages” she’s received from d’Offay; the Metropolitan police is reportedly investigating.
The demand that the Tate remove d’Offay from its programme could prove difficult for the museum. A search for “Anthony d’Offay” on the Tate’s website yields almost 600 results, more than half of which link to works from his collection. Many are described as “on long term loan” to the Tate.
Update, 2/23/18: On Friday, a Tate spokesperson sent the following statement to Hyperallergic: “Tate is unable to discuss this matter at the present time.”