The New York Times reported today that architect Richard Meier has been accused of sexual harassment by five women, four of whom worked for his firm, Richard Meier & Partners.
In light of the allegations, Sotheby’s has decided to close an exhibition of works by Meier at its S2 Gallery in New York, according to a statement sent to ARTnews. The decision to remove the show was made “in consultation with the Meier family.” The Sotheby’s exhibition was to have run through March 29, and had featured more than 30 collages, encaustics, and silkscreens that Meier produced between 2014 and 2017. The online page detailing works on view in the exhibition has been removed from Sotheby’s website.
In the Times report, the five women all allege various unwanted sexual advances, with one of them recounting a time when Meier attempted to force himself onto her in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Two of the women recalled instances in which Meier exposed himself to them; one described a time when, at a holiday party, he grabbed and twisted her underwear; and one said that he had asked to photograph her in the nude at his apartment.
In a statement made in response to the allegations, Meier told the Times that his recollections of their stories “differ,” adding, “I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior.” He also announced that he will be taking a six-month leave from his firm, which he established in 1963 in New York. “I am leaving the company in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team, which has spent the past three decades serving our clients and building our firm’s success,” he said.
Meier has been regarded as one of the art world’s most important architects. In 1997 his firm unveiled its design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles—a campus of the Getty Museum that cost $1.3 billion to build and currently houses the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. His firm has also worked on the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the home of ARTnews “Top 200” collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. In 1984 Meier won the Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for architecture.
Update, March 13, 10:10 p.m.: Information about the removal of an S2 Gallery show of collages by Meier has been added to this story.