The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier has become the latest art-world power player to face allegations of sexual misconduct. Five women told the New York Times that Meier inappropriately touched them or exposed himself to them and he announced that, effective today, he will be taking a six-month leave of absence from his firm.
“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions,” Meier said in a statement to the Times. “While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior.”
All but one of the accusers worked for Meier, and many of the incidents took place after the architect invited women to his home. One woman claimed he offered her wine and asked her to pose for a nude photograph, while another said that he touched her underwear through her dress at an office holiday party. The most disturbing account alleges that, in the 1980s, Meier dragged a woman, who was not an employee, to his bedroom and laid down on top of her. When she escaped from the house, he allegedly chased her to her car.
At least two women reported Meier’s behavior to the architecture firm’s management, and some new hires said they would be warned not to work late alone with the boss. One of the incidents reportedly resulted in a $150,000 settlement with mandatory sexual harassment training for company employees, including Meier.
The architect was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1984, and received a gold medal in architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. Meier is perhaps best known for his design of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the massive museum complex completed in 1997. He opened his own museum, the Richard Meier Model Museum at Mana Contemporary, in Jersey City in 2014.
In Meier’s absence, Michael Palladino, partner and head of Meier’s Los Angeles outpost, will supervise projects and operations. Associate partners Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf will take the reins in New York.
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