Late on Wednesday night, an Instagram account attributed to “Scene and Herd” (under the handle @herdsceneand) posted accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the Indian artist Subodh Gupta. One of the most prominent Indian artists working today, Gupta’s work, in the form of paintings and sculptures that often engage domestic subject matter, has sold for more $1 million at auction.
The Scene and Herd Instagram account, currently with more than 3,000 followers, has since October been devoted to posting anonymous stories of mistreatment and abuse in India—with a self-description reading “Cutting through BS in the Indian Art world, one predator and power play, at a time. Current posts from our personal experiences. We choose anonymity.”
In late November, the Times of India reported that Sotheby’s put its Mumbai-based managing director Gaurav Bhatia on leave as a result of allegations posted on the account. Prior to that, Kochi-Muziris Biennale co-founder Riyas Komu was the subject of allegations and subsequently stepped down. Earlier today, the Economic Times in India reported the allegations against Gupta. One of the claims against him relates to his curatorship of this year’s Serendipity Arts Festival in Delhi. The Economic Times reportedly asked for comment from organizers of the festival and had not yet received a response.
Gupta is represented by Nature Morte gallery in India. ARTnews has reached out to the gallery but has not yet received comment. Hauser & Wirth, which also represents Gupta, provided the following statement to ARTnews: “We have been made aware of the statements being made about Subodh Gupta’s behaviour towards women and are deeply troubled by them. Hauser & Wirth upholds the highest standards of mutual respect and maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward all forms of harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment.” The artist also works with Galleria Continua in Italy, who stated to ARTnews, “Galleria Continua does not condone any form of harassment or discrimination. We have been alerted to the recent allegations towards Subodh Gupta which we are handling as a matter of upmost importance.”
ARTnews is not cataloguing the specific claims because they have not been verified. We reached out to Gupta’s studio via email and did not immediately receive a response. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
Updated, 12/20/2018, 12:16 pm: Updated to include statement from Galleria Continua.