Over the past few weeks, the long-awaited trial of former Hollywood rainmaker Harvey Weinstein has unfolded in harrowing fashion, with one after another of his accusers taking the stand to allege patterns of sexual and psychological abuse. The grim courtroom proceedings are only the latest shockwave from the #MeToo movement, which grew from accusations against Weinstein into a national reckoning with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other rampant abuses perpetrated by those in positions of power.
The art world has not been a safe haven from this heinous activity. In fact, one of the most notorious predators in the mainstream news cycle also cast a long shadow over this niche industry. This week on the Art Angle, Andrew Goldstein sits down with Artnet News deputy editor Rachel Corbett to discuss a serial predator whose victims inside and outside the arts will never have the chance to confront him: Jeffrey Epstein.
Many questions remain to be answered after Epstein, the former financier, arts patron, and convicted sex offender who counted numerous elite figures among his inner circle, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell while waiting to stand trial for charges of sex trafficking in New York. But his alleged crimes have taken on new life in the art world due to detailed, troubling accusations made by painter and former New York Academy of Art student Maria Farmer, who claims Epstein and his associates leveraged her creative ambitions against her for their own perverse ends.
Farmer's disturbing story details how Epstein turned the largely unregulated art world into a hunting ground for new victims. The issues raised by her accusations also loom large over all creative fields, where personal relationships and favors from the top of the hierarchy can make or break the careers of young, talented people striving to make their mark.
Please be advised: This episode contains accounts of sexual abuse that some listeners may find disturbing.