This past October Beatrix Ruf resigned from her position as curator and director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Ruf had allegedly failed to make public certain details surrounding an advisory firm she ran, as well as a major donation to the Stedelijk from Thomas Borgmann, and some publications accused her of having conflicts of interest. Now, a petition with a number of signatories calling for her to be reinstated has appeared as an ad in the newspaper Het Parool. The ad provides a link to an online petition, though NRC reports that some of the people whose names appear did not actually sign it.
Among those saying they did not sign, according to NRC, are Christie’s Netherlands head Arno Verkade and other members of the Dutch art world. Among the people that ARTnews has been able to confirm signed are curator Bob Nickas; artists Avery Singer, Philippe Parreno, Ugo Rondinone, and Sam Falls; collectors Bob Rennie and Dakis Joannou; and dealers Barbara Gladstone and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn. (A spokesperson for Gagosian Gallery said that Larry Gagosian had not actually signed the petition.)
The petition appeared online earlier this week on the Dutch website petities.nl. A description bears one simple request: “Get Beatrix Ruf back in the Stedelijk Museum.” The signees’ explanation is: “Beatrix Ruf should be back at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam because of her artistic vision.”
In October, an NRC report revealed that Ruf had not disclosed profits she accrued through her art advisory firm, Currentmatters. She had also benefited from a 600-work gift of works to the Stedelijk by the collector Thomas Borgmann. In the contract for the donation, fines and clauses ensured that artists represented by galleries Ruf worked with would stay on view for various periods of time.
At that time, the Stedelijk set up a team to investigate the ethics of its own dealings. Though it has not yet named a new director, the museum appointed Jan Willem Sieburgh as interim business director that month.
Update, 4:15 p.m.: This post has been updated to note that some people listed as signatories on the letter have said that they did not sign it.