Art Basel has tapped Maike Cruse, the director of Gallery Weekend Berlin, for a newly created position: director of its marquee fair in the titular Swiss city. She will start in the role in July, a few weeks after the run of the next edition in mid-June.
The creation of this position is one of the first major changes to the company’s leadership since Noah Horowitz returned to Art Basel as CEO last year. Shortly after he started, the fair announced that it would appoint Angelle Siyang-Le as director of the Hong Kong edition, with the fair’s longtime leader, Adeline Ooi, focusing more on its overall strategy in Asia. Horowitz’s former position, running Art Basel Miami Beach, still remains vacant, though Art Basel said that “a search is underway” to fill the role.
In a statement, Horowitz said, “Maike knows the art world intimately and has deep relationships with our global community of galleries, collectors, and institutional audiences, having been at the helm of art fairs and Gallery Weekend Berlin for many years.”
Tasked with overseeing the company’s Basel-based team and leading the realization of the fair, Cruse is returning to Art Basel, having previously worked as a communications manager for the fair in the mid-2000s. She will report directly to Vincenzo de Bellis, Art Basel’s director for fairs and exhibition platforms and work closely with Andreas Bicker, head of business and management for Europe, as well as the fair directors for Hong Kong, Paris+, and Miami Beach.
“I have attended every edition of Art Basel in the last nearly 20 years and I have consistently been in active exchange with the fair as Director of Gallery Weekend Berlin,” Cruse said in a statement. “I am truly honored to lead this pre-eminent show in the art and culture city of Basel, to steer its next chapter and contribute to Art Basel remaining the most important platform for galleries worldwide.”
For over a decade, Cruse has been a major figure in Berlin’s art market, having run two iterations of the city’s fair: Art Berlin Contemporary (2012–16) and Art Berlin (2016–19); in 2013, she was also hired to run Gallery Weekend Berlin. She has also had positions at KW Institute of Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale.
“Maike is a proven leader in the field and an enthusiastic partner to galleries, artists, and collectors,” de Bellis said in a statement. “In Berlin she has created an annual showcase that is deeply embedded in the city and unites its diverse cultural actors. Her collaborative spirit means she is uniquely positioned to foster close ties to our many partners and stakeholders in Basel.”