Home Arts Art Basel appoints Maike Cruse director of the fair

Art Basel appoints Maike Cruse director of the fair

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Maike Cruse, currently director of Berlin Weekend Gallery (GWB), will become the new director of Art Basel in Basel, a role created since the departure of the former global director of Art Basel, Marc Spieglerlast October.

Cruse, who just oversaw the 19th edition of GWB last weekend, will debut at Art Basel in July and attend this year’s Swiss event in June as a spectator, although she “analyzes every detail”, she says. The arts journal. She will report to Vincenzo de BellisDirector of Fairs and Exhibition Platforms of Art Basel who joined in August 2022, and works alongside Andreas Bicker, Head of Business and Management Europe.

Before joining GWB, Cruse was director of Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC) from 2012 to 2016, then Art Berlin from 2016 to 2019. She also worked at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Berlin Biennale .

Cruse knows Basel well, too – she was head of communications at Art Basel from 2008 to 2011. “I left because I had a baby and my partner lived in Berlin,” she says. “But I stayed close to Art Basel because I was good friends with Marc Spiegler, and I still organized the Conversations and Art Salon after I left.”

Although she and Spiegler “always talked about Art Basel and the problems of the art market”, Cruse “never imagined becoming a director, the idea seemed too crazy!”.

But after Spiegler left the company, Horowitz and de Bellis approached Cruse about the role. “There are many reasons I’m well equipped for this job,” Cruse says. “I was part of the team before and as I lived in Basel, I know the institutions and their leaders very well. I have also worked for many years with galleries and their artists, first as director of ABC and Gallery Weekend Berlin.

A lot has changed since Cruse last worked at the fair: “When I left Art Basel, there were two fairs and two directors, and now there are four fairs, an additional continent and a team of management. Thus, the whole company has grown enormously and has become truly global.

Based between Basel and Berlin, Cruse’s role will be hands-on, “overseeing the team in Basel and working closely with cultural partners and institutions in the city.”

Art Basel has long had close ties to Berlin, with 35 of the exhibiting galleries having spaces in the city and two Berlin gallerists, Jochen Meyer and Jennifer Chert, serving on the main selection committee and the Feature and Statements sections respectively.

At this early stage, Cruse refuses to go into detail about his plans for the new role: “First of all, I want to watch everything and listen to everyone, take everything in before making any decisions.” She will attend the fair in June, as an interested spectator, “but it will be a totally different experience, as I will walk around with Vincenzo and the team and take everything and analyze for myself what needs to be done. C It’s a totally different perspective than anything that’s come before.

Although Cruse does not comment on the specific issues that Art Basel might face, she does say of the challenges facing the broader art market: “As we have seen in the UBS and Art Basel report on the art market, the biggest art galleries are growing, but it is also very important to encourage younger and medium-sized galleries because they are our future and it is much more difficult for them. It’s something I think we shouldn’t forget.

Noah Horowitzthe chief executive of Art Basel, said in a statement: “Maike knows the art world intimately and has deep relationships with our global community of galleries, collectors and institutional audiences, having led art fairs and Gallery Weekend Berlin for many years.” He also praises “her entrepreneurial spirit, her unwavering professionalism and her unwavering commitment to contemporary art”.

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