Danh Vō Tells Collector Bert Kreuk To “Shove It” in Stunning Private Letter After Contentious Court Ruling

Vō shared his proposal exclusively with artnet News.

Danh Vo.
Photo: artnet News.

The article has been updated to include Bert Kreuk’s reply

Artist Danh Vō has decided to fulfill the Rotterdam judge’s ruling in Bert Kreuk case, which ruled, on June 24, that Vō must produce a new work for Kreuk within a year. The court specified that the work must be “large and impressive,” and reflect new developments in Vo’s art practice. Kreuk is to pay $350,000 for the new artwork.

Bert Kreuk recently secured an injunction on a piece by Vō, Fiat Veritas, which was at the heart of their legal battle. He claimed that the injunction was necessary because Vō has yet to cover the cost of Kreuk’s attorney’s fees as ordered by the court.

Although Vō is appealing the court’s decision, he has, nonetheless, made a proposition for a work that would be in line with the verdict. Vō shared his proposal in writing with artnet News exclusively this morning:

***Warning: This letter contains language that some readers may find offensive.

Dear Bert, 

I am writing to you to make the following proposition as fulfillment of the court’s verdict. However, you must understand that I insist that my site visit to the Gemeentemuseum in January 2013 did not lead to an agreement about a commissioned work. Your friends director Benno Temple and chief curator Hans Janssen of the Gemeentemuseum, as well as your art advisor and uncle by marriage Theo Schols made, in my opinion, false witness declarations: the amount of $350,000 was never mentioned, neither that I ‘spoke specifically about figures/numbers’, nor that after the supposed agreement I was ‘jumping around for joy’. I will make sure all of this will be corrected in the appeal proceedings. As you are aware, I have already instructed my lawyers to begin this process.  

Notwithstanding my decision to appeal – and with reservation of all my rights and defenses – I am prepared to execute the court’s verdict, and propose a new work based on current themes in my practice. I refer to works, which I made for the Danish Pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale 2015, which take the form of writing by my father, Phung Vo. His writing has been a continuous part of my production since 2009, which I have publicly announced as my most important contribution to the arts. 

Considering the requirements as set forth in the verdict, I will propose to make the following work: 

For your residence in Panama as well as in room 38 of Gemeentemuseum, I will have my father Phung Vo execute a site specific wall work, in which he writes out the following sentence indicated below; it is a line delivered by the demon from the film ‘The Exorcist’, which – as you may know – constitutes a source of inspiration for my latest body of work. You may voice your preferences with regard to its design (as far as a selection of fonts and colors are concerned) and manifestation to the extent it will become as impressive and large as you find fitting for the amount of $350,000:


I would like to hear from you in writing before Wednesday 22 July, 2015 if you accept my proposal.

Best regards,

Danh Vō

Update July 16: Bert Kreuk provided artnet News with the following reply:

This whole case is so bizarre it is unbelievable. It is like I landed in some kind of surreal world. artnet News had Danh Vo’s letter before I did. The court ruled that both parties should be in touch with each other in a “professional way” and to “normalize relations.” I do not think this type of behavior is what the courts meant by that.

If you are so frustrated because the court confirmed your default, you should not have committed it.

It is quite telling and remarkable that Vo, as defaulting party, permits himself to propose compliance through false allegations.

I think it is now clear for everyone why I had to start a court case for the first time in 20 years. Danh Vo soon will get my answer.

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