When former Artforum co-publisher Knight Landesman was accused of sexual misconduct last week, his fellow publishers responded with a statement that was rapidly, and roundly, criticized. They called the allegations against Landesman “unfounded” and characterized a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former employee Amanda Schmitt as “an attempt to exploit a relationship that she herself worked hard to create and maintain.”
Landesman resigned the next day and Artforum‘s staff responded to the publishers’ statement with an open letter posted on the magazine’s website saying that they “repudiate the statements that have been issued to represent us so far.”
Now the magazine’s current contributing editors, who include high-profile figures like Greil Marcus, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Yve-Alain Bois, Molly Nesbit, and others, have followed suit, issuing a statement this afternoon that similarly condemns the co-publishers’—Tony Korner, Charles Guarino, and Danielle McConnell—response to the allegations. They also praised former editor Michelle Kuo for her “principled” decision to resign.
Read the full statement below:
We, the undersigned contributing editors of Artforum, stand with the magazine’s current and former staff in condemning the publishers’ handling of the allegation of Knight Landesman’s sexual misconduct—as reflected in their original statement, from October 24, denigrating the actions of the woman who first brought this situation to light, as “an attempt to exploit a relationship that she herself worked hard to create and maintain.” Both the alleged behavior and the response to it are deplorable. We are united in our belief that everyone should be able to live and work free from all forms of unwanted contact, intimidation, or coercion for any reason, whether rooted in gender, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, weight, ability, or class. Indeed, our engagement with the magazine has been predicated on a shared investment in this fundamental principle, as emblematized by Michelle Kuo’s recent principled resignation as editor. We express our deep respect for her decision as well as our full support for David Velasco, who is taking her place in this contentious and uncertain time. In the weeks and months to come, we expect the magazine’s publishers both to assume responsibility and to take all action necessary, in coordination with the staff, to ensure a transparent, equitable professional environment free of harassment and discrimination. Given the magazine’s history and longstanding commitments, Artforum’s communities of writers and readers deserve no less.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Anne M. Wagner
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