The New York Times reported today that architect Richard Meier has been accused of sexual harassment by five women, four of whom worked for his firm, Richard Meier & Partners.
They all allege various unwanted sexual advances, with one of the women recounting a time when Meier attempted to force himself onto her in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Two of the women recalled instances in which Meier exposed himself to them; one described a time when, at a holiday party, he grabbed and twisted her underwear; and one said that he had asked her to photograph her in the nude at his apartment.
In a statement made in response to the allegations, Meier told the Times that his recollections of their stories “differ,” adding, “I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior.” He also announced that he will be taking a six-month leave from his firm, which he established in 1963 in New York. “I am leaving the company in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team, which has spent the past three decades serving our clients and building our firm’s success,” he said.
Meier has been regarded as one of the art world’s most important architects. In 1997, his firm unveiled its design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles—a campus of the Getty Museum that cost $1.3 billion to build and currently houses the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. His firm has also worked on the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the home of ARTnews “Top 200” collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. He also makes collages, paintings, and silkscreens, which are currently the subject of a show at Sotheby’s in New York. In 1984, Meier won the Pritzer Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for architecture.