MoMA Faces Lawsuit from Nude Artist Over Alleged Sexual Assault

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A former performer who appeared nude in Marina Abramović’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is filing a lawsuit against the museum, alleging that it failed to take action after he experienced multiple instances of sexual assault by attendees. 

The performances took place nearly 14 years ago as part of Abramović’s renowned retrospective, ‘The Artist Is Present.’

Landmark Lawsuit

John Bonafede filed the lawsuit in Manhattan on Monday under the New York Adult Survivors Act, which suspended the usual time limit for accusers to sue. Although the law expired last year, an agreement extended the window for filing the suit. Bonafede claims he was sexually assaulted by five members of the public while performing in the exhibition titled “Imponderabilia.”

“Imponderabilia” featured two performers, including Bonafede, standing face-to-face in a doorway, fully nude and silent, encouraging visitors to pass between them. The suit alleges that during the exhibition, Bonafede was assaulted by mostly older men, one of whom was a corporate member of the museum.

Bonafede reported four individuals to museum staff immediately, and the fifth was witnessed by museum security. One perpetrator was expelled and had their membership revoked. 

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Despite reports of inappropriate behavior by visitors, including sexual assaults, the lawsuit claims that the museum failed to take adequate action to protect performers, such as informing visitors in advance that touching was not allowed.

MoMA Lawsuit Reveals Alleged Failure in Addressing Assaults

Moma-faces-lawsuit-from-nude-artist-over-alleged-sexual-assault
A former performer who appeared nude in Marina Abramović’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is filing a lawsuit against the museum, alleging that it failed to take action after he experienced multiple instances of sexual assault by attendees.

Before the exhibition, performers had expressed concerns about potential harassment in a letter to the museum during contract negotiations. Despite these warnings and media coverage of inappropriate behavior, the suit alleges that the museum did not take sufficient steps to prevent further assaults. 

Bonafede continued the performance due to the “tough it out” culture but suffered long-term emotional distress and damage to his mental health, body image, and career.

The lawsuit against MoMA sheds light on the alleged failure of the museum to address sexual assaults during Abramović’s exhibition.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case underscores the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of performers in art spaces and the responsibility of institutions to take proactive measures against harassment.

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