The Impact of #MeToo
Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you with Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we look at the Impact of #MeToo.
Beginning of the Movement
The #MeToo movement gained momentum around October 2017 when several Hollywood actresses openly accused famed filmmaker Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. The exposition had a domino effect world wide with both men and women from different fields coming out and admitting to being sexually assaulted, as well as revealing the names of the perpetrators.
In the process, several public figures around the globe have come under the spotlight for alleged harassment and sexism at and beyond the workplace. The alleged perpetrators include top politicians, CEOs and industrialists, actors, filmmakers, journalists as well as artists.
Each industry seems to have a closet full of skeletons and the art world is not an exception.
#MeToo & The Art World
In late 2017, Canadian art collector François Odermatt was accused of sexual misconduct. La Presse quotes several women who alleged inappropriate behaviour ranging from touching to rape.
Around the same time, American artist Chuck Close was also accused of sexual harassment by several women. To show solidarity towards the movement, various key players in the art world boycotted his works while investigations were underway. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and The National Gallery of Art in Washington cancelled his exhibitions. The latter also cancelled an exhibition of Thomas Roma after similar accusations were made against the photographer.
In early 2018, The Wall Street Journal published an article exposing Vegas mogul and art collector Steve Wynn as a rapist and sex offender. As a result Wynn was made to resign as Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee.
In July 2018, the Director of the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), Choi Hyo-jun was accused of sexual harassment by a female employee at the museum. He was suspended from his position shortly after the complaint was filed with the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Human Rights Center.
Most recently, in India, artist and Padma Bushan recipient Jatin Das has been accused of sexual misconduct by an female entrepreneur.
As the art world is rocked with controversy and scandal, we wonder if and how #MeToo can impact the power dynamics of the art world. Public institutions and private galleries alike have boycotted artists and cancelled exhibitions of the accused. Will they be boycotted completely by the secondary market as well?
There is no time-limit on speaking up – speaking out and calling out the misogyny, the patriarchy and the abuse of power. All those who have come forward are brave spotlights on how abusive behaviour has been normalised by society and culture across the globe. Like many have expressed – the now, this present moment is a galvanising and uniting moment in our history – across class, across industries, across age-groups, nations and gender – #metoo and #timesup are here, and though you and I don’t know each other – we may have not been abused – but we are all human, our voices are precious – and we are being heard.
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