Knight Landesman Resigns From Artforum Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Employees complained of a "hostile work environment."

Knight Landesman at the Armory Show in 2017. Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Knight Landesman resigned this morning after more than 35 years as co-publisher of Artforum amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The magazine’s three other co-publishers said in a statement this afternoon that staff members informed them that Landesman “engaged in unacceptable behavior and caused a hostile work environment.” They plan to create a task force of women at the magazine to oversee the transformation of Artforum‘s workplace, they said.

The announcement comes the day after artnet News published a report on Landesman’s behavior and the same day that the New York Daily News reported that Amanda Schmitt, a former Artforum employee, had filed a lawsuit against Landesman and the magazine.

In the suit, filed today in Manhattan Supreme Court, Schmitt alleges that the harassment began when she first started working at the magazine as a circulation assistant in 2009, when she was 21, and continued after she left the magazine in 2012. She is now a curator based in New York and serves as director of programming and development at the Untitled art fair. She is seeking $500,000 in damages, according to the Daily News.

Seven other women are named in the complaint and, along with one anonymous complainant, say they, too, were harassed by Landesman. 

As artnet News reported yesterday, the magazine acknowledged it had required Landesman to seek therapy after an ex-employee filed a complaint about Landesman’s behavior last year, followed by a claim for damages this year. But it called the ex-employee’s complaint “unfounded.”

In a statement yesterday, the magazine’s three other co-publishers, Anthony Korner, Charles Guarino, and Danielle McConnell, said that “at no time was Artforum complicit or culpable. In fact, we took her complaint very seriously, and used it as an opportunity to strengthen our policies within the workplace.”

The publishers have since met with staff and had a change of heart. Read their statement regarding Landesman’s resignation in full below:

This morning, Knight Landesman offered his resignation to the publishers of Artforum and chairman Anthony Korner accepted. In the past days, we have met with our staff and they have told us that Knight Landesman engaged in unacceptable behavior and caused a hostile work environment. We will do everything in our ability to bring our workplace in line with our editorial mission, and we will use this opportunity to transform Artforum into a place of transparency, equity, and with zero tolerance for sexual harassment of any kind. Regretfully, this behavior undermines the feminist ideals we have long strived to stand for. In response, we are creating a special task force of women at the magazine who will oversee this transformation.

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