Award Cancelled Over Bitter Legal Dispute Between Artist Danh Vō and Collector Bert Kreuk

The drama continues.

Danh Vo interview.
Danh Vo.
Photo: artnet News.
Gemeentemuseum, the Hague. Photo: courtesy Gemeentemuseum.

Gemeentemuseum, the Hague.
Photo: courtesy Gemeentemuseum.

The fallout from the ugly legal battle between Danh Vō and collector Bert Kreuk continues, with the suspension of Europe’s prestigious Vincent van Gogh Biennial Award for Contemporary Art in Europe.

Honoring mid-career artists living or working in Europe, the award, better-known as the Vincent Award, was to be hosted by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Hague, which was recently caught up in the bitter dispute between Kreuk and Vō over a work the artist was asked to create for an exhibition at the museum. In January, 2016 nominees Nairy Baghramian, Jutta Koether, and David Maljkovic all withdrew their names from consideration, with Baghramian citing the institution’s role in the Kreuk case.

“The jury believes the recent discussion has overshadowed the intention of the award and could eventually compromise the nominated artists,” reads a statement on the Vincent Award website. “After close consultations with the Broere Foundation, the jury has decided to cancel the Vincent Award 2016.” The organizers are quick to point out that the Gemeentemuseum “was never party to the dispute.” Nevertheless, the institution’s chairman and director, Benno Tempel, who is a member of the Vincent Award jury, was called on to testify in the case, which settled in December.

Danh Vo interview.

Danh Vo.
Photo: artnet News.

“Even though I’m aware that the Vincent Award is independent from the Gemeentemuseum, where the exhibition of all nominees will take place this time,” Baghramian told artnet News after rejecting his nomination, “I have to question the involvement of the museum in the legal case between the artist Danh Vō and the collector Kreuk.”

Related: Danh Vo Tells Collector Bert Kreuk to ‘Shove It’ in Stunning Private Letter After Contentious Court Ruling

The case, which hinged on whether Vō had to make good on his promise to deliver Kreuk a large-scale site-specific installation, was characterized by animosity. When a judge initially ruled in Kreuk’s favor, Vō agreed to fulfill the terms of their arrangement with a wall-work titled “SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS, YOU FAGGOT.” This obviously offended Kreuk.

Bert Kreuk Photo: Courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, via Art Daily

Bert Kreuk.
Photo: Courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Established in 2000, the Vincent Award comes with a prize of €50,000 (about $57,000). Anri Sala won in 2014.

The now-cancelled edition of the award was to have been presented in November by jury members Sabine Folie, a Vienna-based independent curator; Hamburger Kunsthalle, director Hubertus Gassner, Julia Peyton-Jones, outgoing co-director of the London’s Serpentine Galleries; Jaroslaw Suchan, the director of the Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; and Tempel. The next edition will be held in 2018.


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