TEFAF’s Global Managing Director Bart Drenth Has Resigned Following an Artnet News Report on His Provocative Anti-Woke Tweets

Drenth has stepped down less than six months after being appointed to the position.

Managing Director of the TEFAF international art fair, Bart Drenth, speaks to the press in Maastricht on June 28, 2022. Photo: Marcel van Hoorn/ANP/AFP via Getty Images.

In a surprise move, Bart Drenth has stepped down as global managing director of the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). He had just been appointed to the position in December of last year. 

Drenth’s departure, which was first reported by ARTnews, comes less than six months after being appointed to the position in December of last year. Upon being hired, he became the fair’s fourth director in three years. 

The timing of the move will raise eyebrows for another reason too. Last Friday, Artnet News “Wet Paint” columnist Annie Armstrong reported on Drenth’s history of using his personal Twitter account to express provocative opinions on Muslims, leftists, and “woke” culture, among other sensitive topics.

“Just as with the Iranian revolution in 1978, left-wing do-gooders stand hand in hand with jihadists. Not knowing that after the success of the revolution they will die first,” Drenth, who is based in Amsterdam, wrote last August.

“Woke is the new Westboro: Hyper-Calvinistic hagglers,” read one post. “Really, your L+ rights are best protected if you are waving around Palestinian flags on the pride parade,” went another. 

Managing Director of the TEFAF international art fair, Bart Drenth, speaks to the press in Maastricht on June 28, 2022. Photo: Marcel van Hoorn/ANP/AFP via Getty Images.

“My Twitter feed expresses my personal opinions and I separate this from my work at TEFAF,” the former director said when asked by Armstrong about these and other controversial posts. “So I will not comment on that.” (Drenth has since made his account private.) 

A TEFAF press release announcing Drenth’s departure said the outgoing director plans to focus on his consultancy firm, Bart Drenth Advies. It did not mention Armstrong’s “Wet Paint” column or Drenth’s tweets. 

“Bart joined TEFAF at a time of great upheaval and transition caused by the pandemic when the art market and fairs were just returning to business. Despite these challenges, Bart’s leadership, fiscal discipline, and efforts to align and structure the team led to stability and progress for TEFAF,” said Hidde van Seggelen, president of the TEFAF executive committee, in a statement. “The board wishes Bart all the best in his future endeavors and thanks him for his service to TEFAF.” 

Drenth served as TEFAF’s director in an interim capacity for 10 months before being officially hired into the position. Prior to that, he held leadership roles at a variety of Dutch cultural organizations, including the artists rights organization Pictoright and the Museum Volkenkunde. 

The TEFAF press release noted that the organization’s board will “announce its leadership plan for the foundation and two international art fairs in the coming weeks.”


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In