Snohomish County native Chuck Close, who had an exhibition at the Schack Art Center in Everett in 2016, has been accused of sexual misconduct. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Snohomish County native Chuck Close, who had an exhibition at the Schack Art Center in Everett in 2016, has been accused of sexual misconduct. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Monroe-born artist Chuck Close accused of sexual harassment

The National Gallery of Art canceled his show and that of photographer Thomas Roma.

By Peggy McGlone / The Washington Post and Herald staff

WASHINGTON — Snohomish County’s most famous artist has had his show canceled at the National Gallery of Art​ ​over charges of sexual misconduct.

​The museum ​will not present solo exhibitions by painter Chuck Close, a Snohomish County native who graduated from Everett High School, and photographer Thomas Roma, ​also ​accused of sexual misconduct.

The Close exhibition was supposed to open May 13, while the Roma show was planned for September. The decision to halt the shows was made earlier this month and marks the first time the gallery has canceled exhibitions because of public allegations made against the featured artists, according to Anabeth Guthrie, chief of communications.

“Given the recent attention on their personal lives, we discussed postponement of the installations with each artist. All parties involved acknowledged that it is not the appropriate time to present these installations,” Guthrie said in an email.

Close, 77, grew up in Snohomish County and graduated in 1960 from Everett Community College, where he was encouraged by the legendary art teacher Russell Day. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington and his master of fine arts from Yale University. ​He ​has lived most of his life in New York.

A crowd of fans showed up to the reception when Close came to Everett in May 2016 for the opening of his ​nearly four-month ​exhibit at the Schack Art Center. “Chuck Close: Prints, Process, and Collaboratio​n,”​ with 90 huge prints and working proofs, drew ​throngs​ of people​ over the course of the​ show.

“William Jefferson Clinton” by Chuck Close, oil on canvas, 2006. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

“William Jefferson Clinton” by Chuck Close, oil on canvas, 2006. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Close is perhaps best known as a painter and photographer who achieved international renown with his huge portraits that incorporate grids and intricate patterns to form realistic paintings. He has been represented by the Pace Gallery in New York since 1977. H​is​ work is sought after by museums and collectors around the world.

In 1988, Close suffered a spinal artery collapse that left him partially paralyzed. He has used a wheelchair ever since.

Close and Roma are part of a tide of sexual harassment accusations against powerful figures that has surged since the downfall of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Prominent figures in media, art, and academia have also been the subject of allegations.

According to media reports, Close sexually harassed women who went to his studio to pose for him, charges he denies. Roma retired from Columbia University earlier this month after five former students came forward with allegations of misconduct, according to reports.

“In the Tower: Chuck Close” was expected to include 30 works by the artist, mostly from the museum’s collection. Information about it has been deleted from the museum website.

The Roma show was to feature about two dozen works that the museum recently acquired. In November, it announced a gift of 87 photographs from Roma’s series, “Come Sunday.” The images were created between 1991-1994 and depict religious services inside Brooklyn houses of worship.

Roma’s work is in the collection of several museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The museum has not determined what will replace these installations.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

X
Washington ferries to get $38 million to improve services

The money from the Federal Highway Administration will be used to improve the ferry service.

FILE - The Boeing 787 Dreamliner after its landing at Le Bourget airport, east of Paris, upon its presentation for the first time at the 49th Paris Air Show at the airport, Tuesday June 21, 2011. Federal regulators said Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, that they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, clearing the way for the company to resume deliveries to airline customers “in the coming days.” (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FAA clears Boeing to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliner

Federal regulators said they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the plane’s production.

RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT STATE - This photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows smoke from a wildfire burning south of Lind, Wash. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Sheriff's officials are telling residents in the town of Lind in eastern Washington to evacuate because of a growing wildfire south of town that was burning homes. (Washington State Department of Transportation via AP)
Washington town told to leave due to wildfire, 10 homes lost

An entire eastern Washington town was being evacuated Thursday because of a growing wildfire.

An EA-18G Growler taxis down the airstrip on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the squadron’s welcome home ceremony in August 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Wood/U.S. Navy)
Judge rejects Navy environmental review of Whidbey Island Growler jet expansion

A judge ruled the Navy violated federal law in an environmental study of expanded Whidbey Island jet operations.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle ends COVID hazard pay for grocery store workers

The now repealed policy had required grocery stores to pay employees an additional $4 per hour.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington judge overturns insurance rate credit scoring ban

The state rule prohibited insurers from using credit scoring to set rates for auto, homeowner and renter insurance.

A damaged Cathlamet ferry sits at the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle, Thursday morning, July 28, 2022. Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday in Seattle, damaging the vessel. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Ferry in Seattle damaged after crash into terminal

Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday.

King County map logo
King County OKs free transit for youth

People age 18 and under will ride buses, water taxis and streetcars for free in King County starting Sept. 1.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at an event with President Joe Biden on April 22, 2022, in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle. Murray is being challenged by Tiffany Smiley, a Republican from Pasco, Wash., in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Patty Murray seeks 6th term in US Senate at new inflection point for women

Her Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley, a former nurse from Pasco, contends it is time for a new senator.

Steve Hobbs, who was sworn in as Washington Secretary of State, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., poses in front of photos of the 15 people who previously held his office. Hobbs, a former state senator from Lake Stevens, Wash., is the first person of color to head the office and the first Democrat to serve as Secretary in more than 50 years. He replaces Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who resigned to accept an election security job in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington’s secretary of state draws several challengers

Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens was sworn into the position last November. Now, he faces challengers.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
State Supreme Court rules that trust lands are to fund schools

The court rejected a claim by environmental groups that state trust lands should be managed to benefit all residents.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Murders up, police staffing way down in Washington state

Violent crimes rose significantly in Washington last year while the number of available officers plummeted.