Two out of five artists shortlisted for the prestigious Vincent Van Gogh Biennial Award have both withdrawn from the prize, one citing the legal row between Danh Vo and the Dutch art collector Bert Kreuk as the reason. It will now be suspended until 2018.
The award is organised by the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, which hosted the exhibition that the dispute erupted over. Berlin-based artist Nairy Baghramian, who withdraw from the award in January, wrote to Hyperallergic saying, “based on my insights, it seems safe to say that the museum didn’t assume a neutral stance in the private confrontation between two parties, but rather played an active role in this legal dispute”.
The dispute was settled in December after an agreement was reached that Vo did not have to make a work allegedly commissioned by Kreuk in 2013.
A statement released by the jury of the prize, which includes Benno Tempel, the chairman and director of the Gemeentemuseum who testified in the legal case between Kreuk and Vo, said that the withdrawals had “precipitated a lot of discussion about this particular dispute, which the museum merely witnessed; it was never party to the dispute”.
“The jury believes the recent discussion has overshadowed the intention of the award and could eventually compromise the nominated artists. After close consultations with the Broere Foundation, the jury has decided to cancel the Vincent Award 2016.”