In case TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year wasn’t indication enough, the deluge of sexual harassment and abuse allegations from women across many industries has washed over everything from Hollywood to technology. In the latest example of the fallout, actual tears washed over Art Basel Miami.
During the weeklong international art fair, known for its lavish shows and parties, came perhaps the most sobering moment, on Tuesday, in the form of actress-turned-designer-turned-artist Tara Subkoff’s performance piece, called “Synaptic Fatigue/Dear in the Headlights,” featuring actresses Selma Blair and Caroline Vreeland.
The handful of women, in black leotards and tights, stood for an hour in front of a car with its headlights trained upon them, as their weeping formed a “Greek chorus.” According to Subkoff, the performance is both confrontational and cathartic for women who have suffered from sexual misconduct at the hands of powerful men, like the director James Toback (according to Blair’s allegation) and Harvey Weinstein, who allegedly harassed Subkoff, as reported by Variety, among many others.
“I did think of my experience with James Toback and how shaming that was and how angry I was to have to be silent for so long because I was afraid,” Blair told W Magazine. “But then I also thought of the wonder of this moment, that women are finally able to express things publicly that they hadn’t felt they would ever tell a soul — even though I never wanted to tell my story publicly. I just wanted him to stop.”
The performance serves as a strong contrast to the goings-on during Art Basel. The event started as an international art fair in Switzerland in the 1970s and debuted in Miami in the early 2000s, and has since become a contest over which art houses, fashion labels, and lifestyle brands can throw the biggest beach bash (it is Miami, after all).
Subkoff, who organized the performance, is known for her work as a director and actress, as well as a fashion designer for the line Imitation of Christ. While Subkoff’s own experience with sexual harassment was in Hollywood, many are left wondering when the fashion world’s reckoning against sexual predators will come. Photographers Terry Richardson and Bruce Weber have both been publicly accused of sexual harassment, though fashion insiders are still waiting for the other shoe to fall for others.
Fashion month is around the corner yet again, and if it’s anything like Art Basel Miami, the runway shows and extravagant parties will be tempered by the knowledge that the industry has long protected its biggest villains.
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