The Getty, Sotheby’s, and Other Institutions Swiftly Cut Ties With Richard Meier Following Harassment Allegations

Cornell University is also turning down Meier's endowment for its architecture chair.

Architect Richard Meier visiting an architecture studio class at his alma mater, Cornell University. Photo courtesy of Cornell University.

The art and design worlds have been quick to distance themselves from disgraced architect Richard Meier, who was accused yesterday of sexual harassment by five women.

The J. Paul Getty Trust has canceled a dinner that was set to honor Meier in New York next week on the occasion of the museum’s 20th anniversary. The architect designed the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 1997.

“The Getty was deeply dismayed to learn of the serious allegations involving Richard Meier,” said Ron Hartwig, the trust’s vice president of communications, in a statement to Curbed. “We are committed to a safe and respectful workplace for all.”

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s New York has called for the early closure of an exhibition of Meier’s works that was scheduled to remain on view at its S2 Gallery in New York through March 29. The auction house told ARTnews that the decision was made “in consultation with the Meier family.” The show, which featured 30 of Meier’s recent collages, encaustics, and silkscreens, no longer appears on the Sotheby’s website.

Richard Meier, <em>Modena</em> (2018). Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Richard Meier, Modena (2018). Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Cornell University is also backing away from Meier, who received a B.Arch there in 1956. He had recently made a substantial gift that would have endowed the chair of the architecture department in his name. But the school has issued a statement declining the gift and canceling a celebratory event planned for next week.

“Although [Meier] has apologized, the reported behavior is unacceptable,” wrote Kent Kleinman, dean of architecture, art, and planning. He said he had been “deeply disturbed to learn of the allegations” and would “swiftly explore what additional actions are appropriate” regarding past gifts.

Meier previously funded a scholarship in the university’s Master’s of architecture program that was dedicated to recruiting women applicants. He also donated money toward an associated professorship established in 2010 and designed the university’s biology facility, Weill Hall, which opened in 2008.

Richard Meier's Getty Center. Photo by Caroline Culler, via Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Meier’s Getty Center. Photo by Caroline Culler, via Wikimedia Commons.

The American Institute of Architects, which awarded Meier its highest honor, a gold medal, in 1997, has also spoken out against the architect’s alleged misbehavior.

“AIA stands by a set of values that guide us as a profession and a Code of Ethics that define standards of behavior for our members. Sexual harassment is not only illegal, it flies in the face of our values and ethics,” said AIA president Carl Elefante in a statement to ARCHITECT. “We are deeply troubled by these allegations, and believe that sexual harassment—in any form and in any workplace—should not be tolerated and must be addressed swiftly and forcefully.”

Representatives for the Pritzker Prize, which Meier won in 1984, did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, which has been home to the Richard Meier Model Museum since 2014. The Royal Institute of British Architects, which awarded him a gold medal in 1988, declined to comment.

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