Leading contemporary artist Subodh Gupta has been accused of repeated sexual misconduct by a former co-worker and other women in an anonymous online post.
Describing Gupta as a “serial sexual harasser”, the author of the post alleged “multiple inappropriate advances and unwanted touching… even after clearly saying no”. The accusation was posted on the Instagram account, Scene and Herd, which has been exposing sexual misconduct in the Indian art world. Known best for massive installations made with everyday objects, Delhi-based Gupta has shown and sold his work across the world.
The post recounted multiple instances of sexual misconduct with young women “who had worked with or for him”, including repeatedly asking an assistant to pose nude “even after clearly being refused every time” and offering massages to women working with him. The post said he “grabbed the hand, touched the stomach, breasts, shoulders, pulled at bra straps, rubbed the thighs, even after the woman pulled away”.
“On a different occasion, when confronted by an assistant who witnessed his behaviour, he responded, ‘she just looked so sexy. Ok, maybe, write one email saying sorry, I got too drunk, will that make it ok? I’m the artist, and she just works as an assistant, it should be ok no? What do you think?” the post read.
Attempts to reach Gupta, who will make his debut as a curator at the forthcoming Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, were unsuccessful. Festival organisers said they had not issued a statement. Earlier, allegations of sexual misconduct were made on the same handle against Kochi-Muziris Biennale co-founders Jatin Das and Riyas Komu and Sotheby’s India MD Gaurav Bhatia. Komu and Bhatia stepped down from their positions, pending inquiry.
A day after allegations of repeated sexual misconduct surfaced against Subodh Gupta, the high profile contemporary artist stepped down as co-curator of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa on Friday and denied that he had indulged in any inappropriate behaviour.
The claims of sexual harassment are “entirely false and fabricated”, Gupta told PTI in a statement after a former co-worker recounted the alleged experiences of several women on social media and an art writer came forward to corroborate their stories “as a witness”.