Art Basel Announces New Leadership Team

Art Basel Announces New Leadership Team
Just a day before this year’s Art Basel opens, the fair has announced the replacement for its current director, Sam Keller [see AI Interview from December 2006]. Instead of a single successor three new leaders will be assuming joint responsibility for the international art shows Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, starting in January 2008: Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, Annette Schonholzer, and Marc Spiegler. Rabinowitz will become artistic director, Schonholzer will be in charge of organization and finances, and Spiegler will be responsible for strategy and development.

Spiegler has been a freelance art journalist and columnist since 1998, writing for such publications as The Art Newspaper, Art & Auction magazine, and New York magazine. Schonholzer has been show manager of Art Basel Miami Beach since December 2002. Rabinowitz has been the senior U.S. editor of the Swiss art publication Parkett and on the faculty of the Parsons New School for Design since 1999.

The three were chosen by an international appointment committee.

According to fair organizers, the switch from one director to three is aimed at “giving Art Basel even greater artistic, organizational, and strategic strength, fostering its future development, and guaranteeing personal service to galleries, artists, collectors, museums, sponsors, the media, and other partners.”

“We are convinced that this management team will enhance Art Basel’s position as the world’s leading art fair and strengthen cooperation with our partners,” said René Kamm, CEO of Art Basel’s parent company Messe Schweiz.

In December, rumors were circulating that the Art Basel franchise was going to expand againthis time to California. However, the management restructuring does not herald a new fair, said Dan Tanzilli, senior account executive for the public relations firm Fitz & Co., who oversees exhibition media campaigns for Art Basel.

"There are no current plans to expand," Tanzilli said in a phone interview from Basel. "These are rumors we've been fielding for quite a while now, for many different cities, but there's absolutely nothing to say about it."