Resource List on Sexual Violence and Institutional Responses
The group exhibition Things Entangling includes the work Plants That Evolve (in some way or other) (2013) by the Korean artists’ collective mixrice. In late June 2020, we were informed that one member (now-former) of mixrice, Yang Chulmo, had been accused and admitted to making inappropriate and sexual remarks to former colleagues while working on an independent project. The case has since ignited a lot of debates in the cultural scene in South Korea in the midst of ongoing #metoo movement, and Yang Chulmo made a public apology through his Facebook. He was excluded from the collective, and mixrice is now run by three artists (Jungwon Kim, Gyeol Ko, and Jieun Cho).
As organizers of the exhibition, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo and KADIST published a first statement in July on each of our websites in order to affirm we condemn any form of sexual misconduct and stand in solidarity with the people who have suffered from and stood against sexual violence. Subsequently, we received a request to remove the work from the exhibition by the support group of the victims in Korea in August. We took this request seriously and considered various ethical and moral priorities as cultural institutions.
Discussions on whether or not works should be dismissed because of the wrongdoing of their producers have been ongoing in different cultural fields. Each case has its own complexity and implication, and it is not possible to defend all works for the autonomy of art. Nor is it to negate them because they were created by an individual suspected or confirmed to have engaged in serious misconduct. In this particular case, we deem it important to acknowledge that the work was made by a collective and with the contribution of other mixrice members than Yang Chulmo.
Moreover, as art institutions, we share – and ensure a space for – critical insights into our society through the presentation of art. In this case, instead of removing the artwork from public view, we have decided to initiate other ways to call attention to the ongoing issues of gender inequality and sexual violence. We will thus continue to display the work until the exhibition closes on September 27 alongside this present text as a new gallery label to underline the importance of making these issues more visible and institutions’ decision-making transparent. To start fostering an attitude of vigilance, we are also providing below a growing list of resources about sexual harassment and institutional responses. We hope these elements will open up conversations and raise the awareness of our audiences toward ongoing issues of gender inequality and sexual violence.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Statements of the victims and Press articles related to the artwork on view (South Korea)
(English) Article: Yang Chul-mo of Korean duo mixrice apologises over harassment claims, published on Artnews on June 22, 2020. Last accessed on September 10, 2020. https://artreview.com/yang-chul-mo-of-korean-duo-mixrice-apologises-over-harassment-claims/
(English) Article: Award-winning artist vows to quit after sexual harassment revealed, published on Korea Times on June 21, 2020, updated on June 30, 2020. Last accessed on September 10, 2020. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/art/2020/06/145_291564.html
(English) Article: Artist accused of Sexual Harassment Quits Activities, published on Art Asia Pacific on June 22, 2020. Last accessed on September 10, 2020. http://artasiapacific.com/News/ArtistAccusedOfSexualHarassmentQuits
(Korean & English) Facebook page of the Support group for the victims of artist Y. Their posts share the statements of the victims of artist Y in Korean and English. Last accessed on September 10, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/safeplace4artists/
(English) Soundboard 1: Museums and #Meetoo: How Should Museums Deal with Art by Alleged Harassers?, published on Walker Art Center website on March 7, 2018. All accessed last on September 8, 2020. The inaugural edition of the Walker Art Center platform, Soundboard, features articles by five experts who weighed in on “How Should Museums Deal with Art by Alleged Harassers?” Some of the questions include “How can art institutions deeply devoted to both artists and audiences best respond? How should work by artists accused of wrongdoing be presented and contextualized? How must key museum processes change—from acquisitions protocols to the writing of interpretive materials, education programs to publishing?”
Make Space For Difficult Conversations, by Theresa Sotto, Educator at the Hammer Museum
Accolades and Accusations Are Part of the Story, by Deborah Cullinan, CEO at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
When Exhibiting Works by Artists Accused of Wrongdoing, Context Matters, by Tyler Green, Critic and historian
Institutions Must Ask: Who Has to Work Too Hard to Be Heard?, by Rashayla Marie Brown, artist and writer
Let’s Reckon with the Power Structures that Enable Abusers, by Jillian Steinhauer, Journalist and editor
(English) Art Museums in the Age of #MeToo, by Laura Lawson Kistler, May 2019.
Degree of Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Harvard University Extension School. Last accessed on September 15, 2020.
(English) What Is Curatorial Activism?, by Maura Reilly, published on ARTnews, on November 7, 2017. Last accessed on September 15, 2020.
Institutional Policies and resources
(English) Guideline For Managing Ethical Issues Relating To Serious Misconduct By An Artist, published on the Queensland Art Gallery website, on July 6, 2019. Last accessed on September 15, 2020.
(English) Sexual Harassment in the Cultural Sector, published on the New Museum website, on March 2018. Last accessed on September 15, 2020.
In light of recent, widespread allegations of sexual misconduct in every sector, the New Museum organized a series of four workshops in order to provide tools, support, and guidance for both leaders and workers in the arts to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.