Sotheby’s has closed a solo exhibition of works by the architect Richard Meier at its S|2 Gallery in New York, after allegations of sexual harassment against him surfaced. Meier announced yesterday that he is taking a six-month leave of absence from his firm, Richard Meier & Partners Architects, following investigations by the New York Times into his behavior. Five women — four of whom have worked for Meier — have come forward with claims that the architect sexually harassed them.
The Sotheby’s show featured over 30 works by Meier, including experimental collages, encaustics, and silkscreen that “examine the relationship between space, form and light,” according to a release. Opened on February 22, it was set to run through March 29; the premature closure was first reported by ARTnews. Sotheby’s has also removed the listing from its website.
“Under the circumstances, and in consultation with the Meier family, the decision has been made to close our exhibition early,” a Sotheby’s representative told Hyperallergic in an email. Richard Meier & Partners Architects did not offer additional comment on the decision.
Take a first look at Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier’s experimental collages, encaustics & silkscreens before they go on view at our NY S2 galleries on 22 Feb: https://t.co/rNzrz9f3BE pic.twitter.com/LICYaWSfcE
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) February 12, 2018
Meier, who received the Pritzker Prize in 1984, said in a statement, “I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions.” A spokesperson for the Pritzker Architecture Prize told Hyperallergic that it does not “comment on the personal lives of our Laureates” and, noting the year he received the award, said that Meier was honored “based on his architectural merit at that time.”
As sexual harassment allegations against powerful men in the art world continue to surface, institutions associated with them will have to face decisions on how they present their legacies. Sotheby’s response to the Times report is similar to Seattle University’s decision to remove a self-portrait of Chuck Close after allegations of sexual misconduct against the artist emerged late last year. In contrast, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts decided to keep its Chuck Close exhibition open. As Hyperallergic previously reported, the museum chose instead to supplement the installation of his photographs with a satellite show that opens up conversation about power and gender dynamics.
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