In October of last year thousands of artists, writers, and directors signed an open letter created by WANS (We Are Not Surprised) condemning Artforum publisher Knight Landesman after allegations of sexual misconduct. Landesman resigned that same month but now WANS are back with a new letter asking the former publisher to be removed fully from his co-ownership of the magazine.
WANS is also objecting to Artforum’s publishers and lawyers filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit of Amanda Schmitt, who filed a suit against Artforum after alleging Landesman repeatedly sexually harassed her. Schmitt’s lawsuit is hers alone but includes the accounts of several other women. According to court documents the publication’s lawyer Bettina B. Plevan filed a motion to dismiss the suit on December 8, 2017.
Artforum is currently under new editor-in-chief David Velascom, who WANS criticizes for creating “intersectional feminist” content for the magazine while the publication’s publishers and lawyers moved to dismiss Schmitt’s lawsuit. WANS writes:
WANS can’t stand for this. In October, we wrote, “Many institutions and individuals with power in the art world espouse the rhetoric of feminism and equity in theory, often financially benefiting from these flimsy claims of progressive politics, while preserving oppressive and harmful sexist norms in practice.” This is precisely what Artforum has done, and Landesman profits directly from it.
The group asks that Landesman be removed as a co-owner immediately and that Artforum needs to retract its motion to dismiss Amanda Schmitt’s lawsuit, as well as its request to strike allegations of Landesman’s harassment from the case. The case is currently still active.
“We’re tired of the sweet talk and empty politics. Show us that you mean what you say in print,” WANS writes. “Until then, we won’t be having any of it.”