The Victoria & Albert Museum has defended its decision to include a portrait of Kevin Spacey in an upcoming exhibition about key figures from theatre and film.
Later this month, the London art gallery will debut a number of portraits by artist Francis Hamel, featuring former visiting professors of the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre.
Among the famous faces depicted are Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Meera Syal and, controversially, Kevin Spacey.
Despite the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that have been levelled against Spacey since late 2017, the V&A has confirmed they intend to keep his portrait in the collection.
Their spokesperson said: “The V&A aims to provide a record of history while recognising and encouraging debate around issues affecting contemporary society.”
A rep for the theatre producer and owner Cameron Mackintosh added: “This display of portraits is an accurate historic record of every professor who has occupied the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre over 27 years at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
“At the time of his appointment and during his tenure in the chair, there was no public controversy surrounding Mr Spacey.”
The portraits in question will be on display at the V&A from April 27 to May 19.
As the accusations against Spacey began to mount up towards the end of 2017, the Oscar-winning actor said he would be seeking “evaluation and treatment” for his past behaviour.
Earlier this year, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual abuse in January 2019, having been accused of sexually assaulting journalist Heather Unruh’s son in 2016.
The first to come forward and accuse Spacey of sexual misconduct was Rent star Anthony Rapp, to which the American Beauty actor apologised for what he referred to as “deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour”, claiming he did not recall the incident in question.
Useful helplines and websites:
- Victim Support - Visit victimsupport.org.uk or call 0808 168 9111 Sexual Abuse Referral Centres - Find a SARC
- Rape Crisis - Visit rapecrisis.org.uk or call 0808 802 9999 The Rape and Abuse Line - Visit rapeandabuseline.co.uk or call 0808 800 0123 (answered by women) or 0808 800 0122 (answered by men).