Following a report in Artnet News earlier today revealing that, according to the artist Liam Neff, 15 people had experienced various forms of sexual harassment by Knight Landesman, Artforum has released a statement about its publisher’s behavior. The statement, which is unbylined, confirms details of the Artnet News report, among them that a former employee has filed for damages in connection with Landesman’s misconduct. According to the Artforum statement, the magazine said that any misconduct happened after the woman was employed by Artforum, but that it used her complaint as an opportunity to make Landesman seek therapy and change its company guidelines.
The Artnet report from earlier this morning revealed that one person had heard “responses from nearly 15 people” of Landesman touching, groping, and otherwise harassing both men and women. One of them was a former employee who left the magazine in 2012 (the employee was not identified by name), then filed a complaint in 2016, and finally this year made a claim for damages. Landesman, who has worked at Artforum for over 35 years, told Artnet that he did not deny that he had, in his words, “tested certain boundaries,” but added, “I have never willfully or intentionally harmed anyone.”
In a statement today, Artforum distanced itself from Landesman’s behavior, noting, “At no time was Artforum complicit or culpable.” The magazine’s statement follows in full below.
It came to our attention that Knight Landesman was engaged in a close friendship with a former employee which took place well after she left Artforum in 2012. Four years after her departure, in 2016, she brought a complaint to our notice and we acted immediately to address it.
Despite the fact that she was not an employee of Artforum, we required that Mr. Landesman attend therapy, and took companywide steps to address any workplace transgressions. At no time was Artforum complicit or culpable. In fact, we took her complaint very seriously and used it as an opportunity to strengthen our policies within the workplace.
Her subsequent claim for damages, in 2017, one year after her initial complaint, appears to be unfounded, and seems to be an attempt to exploit a relationship that she herself worked hard to create and maintain. For its part, Artforum is proud of its workplace and will continue to ensure that no transgressions whatsoever will be tolerated by any of our employees, under any circumstances.
Artforum is devoted to the freedom of expression and we have no wish to silence anyone, nor will we engage in any attempts to do so.