Jeffrey Epstein’s Art World Connections: A Guide -ARTnews

Little St. James Island, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, a property owned by Jeffrey Epstein.


Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide on August 10 while in jail facing additional charges related to alleged sex trafficking in New York and Florida, cultivated an expansive network of powerful and influential contacts in a wide array of fields—art very much among them. In addition to his dealings in the worlds of finance, science, and technology, the reputed billionaire engaged with art institutions, collectors, and cultural enterprises now reckoning with their affiliations with a figure whose history is being closely examined. Below, a guide to what we’ve come to know so far about Epstein’s ties to the art world.

New York Academy of Art
From 1987 to 1994, Epstein was a board member of the New York Academy of Art, a private university in Lower Manhattan focused on graduate-level education combining, as per the Academy’s website, “intensive technical training in the fine arts with active critical discourse.” In 1995, he met Maria Farmer, a 25-year-old aspiring artist and student at the Academy who, a year later, reported to the New York City Police Department and the FBI that she and her 16-year-old sister, Annie, had been sexually assaulted by Epstein and his close friend and associate Ghislaine Maxwell. (Maxwell has been accused by Maria Farmer and other victims of facilitating and participating in Epstein’s abuse and assault of young women. She has not been charged with a crime and has denied the allegations.)

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Maria Farmer met Epstein at a gallery show tied to her graduation, after which Epstein “called her to offer her a job acquiring art on his behalf, and later managing the entrance to a townhouse he was renovating.” Farmer said that, at the time, she told Eileen Guggenheim, then-dean and current board chair of the Academy whom…

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