In a report published earlier today by HuffPost, three women allege that the artist Chuck Close made lewd comments to them in the midst of modeling for him in his studio.
Two of the women claim that, while they modeled nude for Close, he spoke in ways that made them feel uncomfortable and sexually violated. The artist Julia Fox said that when she agreed to model for Close he made no mention that it would involve nudity. Once she arrived at his studio, she said, Close asked her to remove her clothes. After protesting, Close said he would not photograph her, and Fox acquiesced. Then, according to the report by HuffPost reporter Priscilla Frank, Close said, “Your pussy looks delicious.” Fox recalled putting her clothes back on and leaving while Close tried to hand her $200.
A graduate student at the Yale School of Art recounted a similar experience in which, according to her account, Close asked her to model nude and then proceeded to ask if he could touch her. She refused his advances, and told the Huffington Post, “It took me the whole four hours of commuting home to understand what had happened.” The artist Delia Brown said that Close had asked her to pose topless, despite having been told that she would be modeling for a portrait, and that she “felt like [she’d] been punched in the stomach.”
In a statement emailed to the Huffington Post, Lance Gotko, a lawyer for Close, adamantly denied that any sexual acts had taken place and that Close “uttered some words (some of which were sexually frank) which are alleged to have offended the sensibilities of these adult individuals.”
ARTnews has reached out to Pace Gallery, which represents Close, for a comment regarding these allegations.