Nude performing artist sues museum for sexual assault allegations.

Performer Sues Museum of Modern Art for Alleged Sexual Assault During Marina Abramovic Show

Albany, New York – A performer who participated in a controversial show by renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is taking legal action against the museum. The performer claims that the institution failed to address multiple instances of sexual assault by attendees during the performances nearly 14 years ago.

John Bonafede, the plaintiff, filed the lawsuit on Monday in Manhattan utilizing the New York Adult Survivors Act, a special state law that temporarily extended the time limit for accusers to sue. Although the law expired last year, an agreement was reached to extend the closing window for this case.

According to the lawsuit, Bonafede alleges that he was sexually assaulted by five members of the public who attended a show he was hired to perform in as part of Abramovic’s retrospective exhibition, “The Artist Is Present.” The specific performance piece, titled “Imponderabilia,” involved Bonafede and another performer standing face-to-face, completely nude, in a doorway with minimal space between them. The museum curated the exhibition in a way that encouraged visitors to walk between the performers as they moved from one gallery to the next.

The suit claims that the individuals who assaulted Bonafede were mostly older men. One of them was a corporate member of the museum who was subsequently expelled and had his membership revoked. During the final weeks of the exhibition, another attendee repeatedly groped Bonafede without his consent, until security finally intervened.

Bonafede reported four of the perpetrators to the museum staff and security immediately, while the fifth assault was witnessed directly by museum security personnel. Additionally, the lawsuit states that Bonafede witnessed one of the attendees non-consensually kiss his female co-performer during the show.

Prior to the exhibition, Bonafede and the other performers had expressed concerns about potential harassment faced by nude performers in a letter to the museum during contract negotiations. Several news outlets, including The New York Times, reported on the inappropriate behavior by visitors during the show, and the issue of sexual assaults during “Imponderabilia” became a topic of discussion within New York City’s art and performance communities.

Despite the museum’s awareness of the problem, the lawsuit alleges that no action was taken to protect the performers or prevent further sexual assaults. The museum neglected to inform visitors that touching was not allowed, among other preventive measures. It wasn’t until about a month into the exhibition that the museum created a handbook outlining protocols for performers to report feeling unsafe or being inappropriately touched.

The suit explains that Bonafede chose to continue with the performance after being assaulted due to the prevailing “tough it out” culture surrounding the exhibition. However, he suffered from emotional distress for years afterward, and his mental health, body image, and career were significantly impacted as a result.

Bonafede’s lawyer, Jordan Fletcher, stated that they will be seeking a jury trial and compensatory damages. The Associated Press has obtained consent from Bonafede to disclose his name in relation to the lawsuit.

A performer who appeared naked in a show by Marina Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is suing the museum for failing to take action after he was sexually assaulted multiple times by attendees. The lawsuit was filed under the New York Adult Survivors Act, and the performer alleges that he was assaulted by five onlookers during the exhibition. The suit claims that the museum was aware of the issue but did not protect the performers or inform visitors about the inappropriate behavior. The performer suffered emotional distress and damage to his mental health, body image, and career as a result. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and compensatory damages.

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