Home Arts Bart Drenth resigns as global chief executive of Tefaf following reports of ‘anti-awakening’ tweets

Bart Drenth resigns as global chief executive of Tefaf following reports of ‘anti-awakening’ tweets

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Bart Drenth resigned as global managing director of Tefaf less than six months after take on the role in Dutch societywhich owns and manages the Tefaf Maastricht and Tefaf New York art fairs, in December.

Drenth previously served as the company’s interim director from February to December 2022, after Tefaf chief executive Charlotte van Leerdam went on sick leave. (In December, Van Leerdam said The arts journal that she intends to reprise her role after her recovery).

In a statement last night, Tefaf said Drenth had resigned to “focus on his longtime adviser, Bart Drenth Advies”. He adds, “The board will announce its leadership plan for the foundation and two international art fairs in the coming weeks.”

Hidde van Seggelen, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Tefaf, said in a statement: “The Board of Directors is grateful to Bart for his achievements as Chief Executive Officer of Tefaf. Bart joined Tefaf at a time of great upheaval and transition caused by the pandemic as the art market and fairs were just getting back to business. Despite these challenges, Bart’s leadership, budget discipline, and efforts to align and structure the team have led to stability and progress at Tefaf. This year, Tefaf organized two successful editions in Maastricht and New York, indicating that the foundation and the fairs are well positioned for the future. The Board wishes Bart every success in his future endeavours, and thanks him for his service to Tefaf.

Drenth’s resignation comes days after Artnet News published an article chronicling his “anti-awakening” Tweets (his account @bardrenth has since been made private). Annie Armstrong translated the Tweets, originally written in Dutch. One, published in August 2022, reportedly read: “Just like in the 1978 Iranian revolution, leftist benefactors are standing hand in hand with jihadists. Not knowing that after the success of the revolution, they will die first.

Other tweets, according to Artnet News, read: “Speculating about population transition is only a problem when you’re not Muslim” and: “Woke is the new Westboro: hyper-Calvinist merchants.” Another said: “Really, your L+ rights are better protected if you wave Palestinian flags in the pride parade. And, last month, Drenth reportedly wrote: “Normalize criticism of the Quran and the Prophet.

drenth said clean art“My Twitter feed expresses my personal opinions and I separate that from my work at Tefaf. So I won’t comment on that.

Just three weeks ago, Drenth was the subject of a major cover story in the Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad‘s magazine, titled “Noem mij geen Mister Tefaf”, which translates to “Don’t call me Mr Tefaf”.

The article reads: “Last year, Bart Drenth joined Tefaf as interim director, four months before the opening, because his predecessor fell ill.”

The “predecessor” mentioned is Charlotte van Leerdam, managing director of Tefaf. Unhappy with the reference to her illness, she commented in response to the Linkedin article: “Imagine battling breast cancer in the Netherlands, where you have the right to return to your job within the first 104 weeks after falling sick, and seeing you described as a predecessor in a front-page article in the press. What an incorrect message: I am still employed but unfortunately sick. What kind of vanity moves Bart? To date, I have not spoken publicly of my illness, as this is a private matter. It is inappropriate and in violation of privacy laws for Bart to tell you. Unfortunately, I get so many comments based on this article that I I feel compelled to say something about it.

Van Leerdam continued, “After an intense year with lots of chemotherapy, two failed stem cell transplants, a serious infection, operations, a spinal tap and radiation, my scans and biopsies are clean! I’m cancer free again, recovering fast and feeling great! “.

Drenth tells The arts journal“I have nothing to add to Tefaf’s statement except that it was a pleasure and a privilege to work for Tefaf.”

Tefaf declined to comment further on the matter.

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