Chuck Close show postponed over sexual misconduct claims
[/url][url="]1 / 2Artist Chuck Close attends Art Basel Miami Beach on December 6, 2017
The National Gallery of Art in Washington has indefinitely postponed a planned exhibition of works by artist Chuck Close due to sexual misconduct claims against him.
In light of the allegations against Close and photographer Thomas Roma, "all parties involved acknowledged that it is not the appropriate time to present these installations," museum spokeswoman Anabeth Guthrie told AFP on Sunday.
She noted that the museum, which has 53 Close drawings, photographs, prints, collages and paintings in its collection, has never before postponed a show over sexual misconduct claims.
The Gallery also owns 87 Roma prints from his 1991-1994 series "Come Sunday" from a project that saw him photograph more than 150 religious services.
Late last year, several women told US media that Close, who is handicapped and relies on a wheelchair due to spinal artery collapse, had asked them to undress and made unwanted advances and explicit comments when they visited his studio.
Close, whose gallery did not immediately respond to requests for comment, has denied the allegations, which came amid a wave of sexual misconduct revelations that has swept through various industries.
Roma retired earlier this month from Columbia University, where he taught as a professor, after several of his former students described alleged sexual advances he made, mostly in the 1990s. Roma also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
- Unusual move -
"The decisions to postpone the installations were made soon after learning of the circumstances and consulting with the artists," Guthrie said, stressed that the Gallery nevertheless has "great respect for their work."
"Given the recent attention on their personal lives, we discussed postponement of the installations with each artist."
No decision has yet been made on which special installations will replace the planned Close and Roma shows, which were scheduled for May and September, respectively.
The Gallery's move is unusual, and Close's works still hang on the walls of several museums as institutions struggle to determine whether they can, or should, disassociate an acclaimed artist's works from his personal misdeeds.
In fact, Guthrie said "Fanny/Fingerpainting" (1985), which she described as "one of Close's greatest paintings," will remain on public display in the museum's permanent collection galleries.
"An important work in our collection of contemporary art, the monumental painting has been on view (with little interruption) since it was acquired in 1987," Guthrie said.
It measures 102 by 84 inches (259 by 213 centimeters).
There were no signs that other museums planned to take down Close works currently on view.
In New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is showing at its Fifth Avenue location Close's "Lucas I" (1986-87), a large oil and graphite work on canvas that is typical of the artist's large, super-realist close-up portraits.
The Broad Museum in Los Angeles has one Close painting displayed, "John" (1971-72).
Both museums own multiple Close works.