Briefing

Artforum co-publisher Knight Landesman accused of sexual misconduct; editor Michelle Kuo resigns; Brazilian artists protest censorship

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Knight Landesman attended the Independent Art Fair on March 2, 2017 in New York. Photograph: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Knight Landesman attended the Independent Art Fair on March 2, 2017 in New York. Photograph: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Knight Landesman, co-publisher of New York-based art magazine Artforum, has resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct by former employee and art fair director Amanda Schmitt. The complaint, filed two days ago, alleges he sexually harassed at least nine women over almost a decade. Artforum released a statement on Tuesday standing by Landesman only to admit a day later that ‘staff [...] have told us that Knight Landesman engaged in unacceptable behavior and caused a hostile work environment’, promising to address its workplace culture. The editor of Artforum for the past seven years Michelle Kuo has resigned as a result stating: ‘in light of the troubling allegations [...] I could no longer serve as a public representative of Artforum.’ She handed in her notice on 18 October. Artforum.com editor David Velasco, who has been with the company since 2005, takes over. Yesterday he along with other company employees published an open letter on their website condemning the management's handling of the issue, saying company statements have misrepresented their feelings on the matter.

More than 1,000 Brazilian artists, curators and art professionals have signed an open letter published by the pro-democracy collective Pela Democracia protesting censorship by ‘arrogant fundamentalists’. This follows the banning earlier this month of a nude performance by the artist Wagner Schwartz at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM), which allowed visitors to touch parts of his naked body, after conservatives condemned the piece as promoting paedophilia. The letter states: ‘right-wing militants, segments of the neo-Pentecostal churches, some politicians, members of the state, the police and the Public Ministry are working together against artistic productions and institutions. They censor exhibitions, harass visitors and museum employees and use social media networks to demean and outrage people they disagree with.’ You can read the statement in full here.

Ursula Johnson has won Canada’s CAN$50,000 Sobey Art Award, a prize recognizing artists under 40 from each of the country’s five regions. Ursula Johnson, 37, is a performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. The judges said in a statement that she ‘was singled out for her strong voice, her generosity and collaborative spirit.’

David Adjaye and Ron Arad have been selected to design the UK Holocaust and Memorial Centre beating competition from the likes of Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and collaborations between Rachel Whiteread and Caruso St John architects, and Anish Kapoor who teamed up with Zaha Hadid architects. The jury of 13 members included Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former director of the Serpentine Galleries, Julia Peyton-Jones. The memorial will be situated in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and is expected to be completed by 2021.

Condé Nast have blacklisted fashion photographer Terry Richardson from all of its publications, which include Vogue, GQ, Glamour and Vanity Fair, following a number of articles in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, asking why Richardson, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment and exploiting models over the years, is still being celebrated by the fashion industry. Since the Weinstein revelations, a number of men in prominent positions in other media industries have been accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour and abuse of power, including Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic, who admitted to a catalogue of offences against female colleagues stretching back decades.

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