Seattle University has removed Chuck Close’s "Self-Portrait 2000" after the celebrated artist was accused of sexual misconduct in a December Huffington Post report.
"Self-Portrait 2000," valued at $35,000, was removed from the second-floor lobby of the Lemieux Library, a “highly trafficked” location, according to the university, and replaced with an oil painting by Linda Stojak, The Stranger reported.
“We were concerned about potential student, faculty or staff reaction to seeing the self-portrait, and decided that the prudent and proactive course of action would be to replace the self-portrait with another work,” the university administration wrote in an email to the library’s staff, according to The Stranger.
Close, 77, was accused by two women, artist Julia Fox and a Yale graduate who chose to remain anonymous, of asking them to model naked for him in 2007 and 2013, respectively, without warning, and of making lewd sexual remarks while they posed.
Another woman, artist Delia Brown, was asked by Close to pose naked circa 2005, according to The Huffington Post. When she refused, Close lost interest in photographing her.
While Close's lawyer Lance Gotko acknowledged the incident in a statement issued to The Huffington Post, he said the situation doesn't compare to other sexual misconduct allegations that have arisen in the #MeToo movement.
"The bottom line of all the allegations is that no sexual act ever occurred -- in fact, Mr. Close never ever touched any of your witnesses. The most that can be said about the allegations against Mr. Close is that he uttered some words (some of which were sexually frank) which are alleged to have offended the sensibilities of these adult individuals … This does not come close to reaching the level, and would only serve to cheapen the coin, of the terrible misconduct that rightly has been condemned of late," Gotko wrote.
Close's upcoming exhibition, planned for May at Washington's National Gallery of Art, has been postponed following the allegations, according to The Washington Post.