Bert Kreuk Replies to Danh Vō, Suggests Charity to Cure Artist’s “Frustration” over Contentious Court Ruling

Kreuk shared his reply with artnet News.

Bert Kreuk Photo via: Sotheby's
Bert Kreuk
Photo via: Sotheby's

Last week, artist Danh Vō sent a letter to Bert Kreuk, shared exclusively with artnet News, with his proposal for an artwork that would, according to Vō, comply with the Rotterdam verdict, despite the fact that he is appealing the unprecedented court rule.

In June, a Dutch court ruled that Vō must produce a new work for Kreuk within a year, which is to be “large and impressive,” and reflect new developments in Vō’s art practice. Kreuk is to pay $350,000 for the new artwork.

The proposed artwork, which uses a quote from the film The Exorcist that reads “SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS, YOU FAGGOT,” drew conflicting reactions from the media, including criticism of the choice of offensive language and the public nature of the legal dispute.

As it seems that the two parties still prefer to communicate with each other publicly, Kreuk approached artnet News this morning with the following reply:

Dear Danh,

Although I find it quite unusual that you correspond publicly, I appreciate your initiative to comply with the court order. Especially since you ignored my suggestions to resolve this matter outside the courts for nearly 2 years now.

I am open to discussing the situation with you in a civilized and respectful way. I will however not lower myself to the level of name-calling, profanity, abuse, and other childish behavior. Any further efforts to discredit reputations are unworthy, not constructive and will fail, just like your previous attempts to distract from the merits of this case. They will be met with an appropriate response. Maybe you should consider article 2.24 of the ruling, where the court decided on the €350,000 penalties, specifically “because of your attitude”. For now let’s concentrate, without prejudice, on the possibility to finalize this whole saga.

Your proposed work

I find any offensive language and discriminating statements relating to gender, orientation, race, and religion (intended or not) very inappropriate. It is not something I want in my collection or on my walls.

I suggest you find another sentence, for instance from the film Rite of Exorcism that reads: “FROM ANGER, HATRED, AND ALL ILL WILL.”

I am sure when all parties abide by the court decision; to come to a “detailed agreement” through “professional” communication (for instance about the medium), that the end result will be worthy enough to be included in my collection.

If your aim is however to make offensive works out of “self-imposed” frustration, or if they are meant to prove some kind of point beyond your conceptual practice, then the resulting works are, in my opinion, not made with the right artistic intention or ambition. When you reach that conclusion, I suggest that instead you donate $350,000 to good causes or the equivalent in art to a Dutch or American museum. I will do the same with another $350,000. So $700,000 total to good causes; a cure for any frustration!

The finality to this case Danh, will not only be defined by winning and losing, but by making the right decisions.

Best regards,

Bert Kreuk

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