A New York Dealer Drops Partner Michael Ruiz After Artists Complained He Withheld Their Work and Payments for Sales

Nicole Calderòn has broken company with Future Gallery's Michael Ruiz.

Artist Estrid Lutz. Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Estrid Lutz. Courtesy of the artist.

Gallerist Nicole Calderón has parted company with her controversial business partner, Michael Ruiz, having dropped his name from their joint gallery in New York, Calderón Ruiz, now called simply Calderón.

“[We will] continue the gallery’s mission to diligently foster the careers of Latinx artists,” Nicole Calderón said in a statement to Hyperallergic, which first reported the news. “I am extremely dedicated to supporting these artists today and always.”

Earlier this month, Artnet News reported that Ruiz, who also runs Berlin’s Future Gallery, had allegedly failed to inform his artists that he’d sold their work, or pay them for it. It was also revealed that Ruiz had been accused of withholding work by artists, including that of Estrid Lutz who said that she took to social media to try to secure the return of between 40 and 50 works that Ruiz had from when she was represented by the gallery, in 2016 to 2018.

Lutz told Artnet News that she has received some of what she is owed, but is still without her collector list and that Ruiz refuses to ship her work outside of Europe to where she lives in Mexico.

Meanwhile, another artist who was represented by Future Gallery said: “I found out from a collector who emailed me that they had bought a work of mine from Ruiz, which I had not been told about and had not been paid for.”

The outcry came just as Ruiz had announced he was setting up shop with Calderón in New York.

“I am pleased for the artists she represents that Nicole Calderón has broken with Mike,” Lutz said.”It made me sad to read that he said he wanted to lift up Latinx artists as he has damaged my career and the careers of others.”

Neither Calderón nor Ruiz immediately responded to requests for comment.


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