Sotheby’s Closes Richard Meier Art Exhibition Early in Response to Allegations of Sexual Harassment
Architects & Firms
Hours after the New York Times published five women’s allegations of Richard Meier’s sexual misconduct toward them, Sotheby’s announced the early closure of an exhibition of the architect’s artwork for sale in its S2 Gallery.
“Under the circumstances, and in consultation with the Meier family, the decision has been made to close our exhibition early,” according to a statement released by the art brokerage firm. Sotheby’s removed the exhibition’s webpage earlier Tuesday evening.
Meier’s solo exhibition opened on February 22 in New York and was scheduled to run until March 29. Prices for the various pieces, which included collages—some of which contained images of nude women—as well as silkscreens and encaustics, were set at between $1,200 to $250,000.
In the allegations reported by The New York Times, Meier’s then-assistant Laura Trimble Elbogen said she was invited to the architect’s New York apartment where he showed her his photos of naked women and asked her to undress.
Another former assistant to Meier, Alexis Zamlich, received a $150,000 legal settlement after reporting that Meier had exposed himself to her while she was at his apartment to help him work on his collages, the Times reported.
Meier’s collages are infamous for including naked women and close-ups of female genitalia. At his first U.S. gallery show at Design Miami in 2013, portrayal of women’s bodies in his collages shocked many who visited the exhibit. As RECORD critic Fred Bernstein wrote at the time, viewers encountered “raw photographs of naked women showing absolutely everything except the subtlety Meier’s architecture is known for.”
Sotheby’s S2 exhibition included six photographs of abstract, and less abstract, nudes as part of a 98-piece installation measuring 9 by 18 feet in size. Titled By Law All Buildings Should Be White, it was the most expensive piece in the solo show, priced at $250,000.
Amanda Bass from Sotheby’s Press Office declined to answer any question about sales. “We do not publicize sales from our private selling exhibitions,” she told RECORD via email.
Sotheby’s curators Nicholas Cinque and Julian Dawes, who worked with Meier for more than a year on the exhibition, did not respond to RECORD’s request for comment.
The art brokerage’s closure of Meier’s exhibit comes as Cornell University announced it would decline the architect’s recently-announced endowment of the chair of the Department of Architecture position.