UK museum defends Kevin Spacey portrait

A London museum defended its decision to show a portrait of American actor Kevin Spacey.
A London museum defended its decision to show a portrait of American actor Kevin Spacey.

The Victoria & Albert Museum has defended its decision to display a portrait of Kevin Spacey.

The Oscar-winning actor, 59, has faced a string of sexual misconduct allegations.

In January, he pleaded not guilty to groping an 18-year-old restaurant worker in the first criminal case against the American Beauty star.

Spacey's image will go on display as part of an exhibition of portraits of major figures in theatre and film.

They include the late film-maker Richard Attenborough, as well as Stephen Daldry, Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Diana Rigg and Meera Syal.

All the figures in the portraits were visiting professors of the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre at St Catherine's College, Oxford.

The portraits go on display as part of the V&A's annual Performance Festival later this month.

A spokeswoman for theatre producer and theatre owner Sir Cameron Mackintosh said: "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."

A spokeswoman for the V&A said: "The V&A aims to provide a record of history while recognising and encouraging debate around issues affecting contemporary society."

The portraits are by artist Francis Hamel and will be on display at the museum from April 27 to May 19.

Australian Associated Press