Art Basel has named Maike Cruse the inaugural director of its flagship fair in Switzerland.
Cruse, who is currently the head of Gallery Weekend Berlin, will step into the newly created role on July 1, just after the 2023 edition of the Swiss fair closes in June. She will oversee the annual summer event in Basel and its network of galleries, collectors, and commercial partners.
Cruse previously served as Art Basel’s communications manager from 2008 to 2011.
“I am truly looking forward to returning to Art Basel and advancing the Swiss show into the future in collaboration with this exceptional team,” she said in a statement. “I have attended every edition of Art Basel in the last nearly 20 years and I have consistently been in active exchange with the fair as director of Gallery Weekend Berlin.”
Cruse joins a growing list of newly hired executives brought on to head Art Basel satellite events. Last year, Clément Delépine was named director of Art Basel’s Paris+ fair, while Angelle Siyang-Le was appointed to lead Art Basel Hong Kong. A search for a director of Art Basel Miami Beach is currently underway, according to a spokesperson. (The company did not say whether or not it plans to hire a candidate ahead of the 2023 Miami edition in December.)
Prior to hiring the directors, Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director from 2012 to 2022, oversaw the company’s four fairs. Spiegler announced plans to step down from his position last year and has since been effectively succeeded by Noah Horowitz, whose title is Art Basel CEO.
After departing her previous role at Art Basel, Cruse went on to lead the fair Art Berlin Contemporary from 2012 to 2016, and its subsequent iteration, Art Berlin, from 2016 to 2019. (The fair closed in late 2019.) She’s also held positions at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale.
In Basel, Cruse will work alongside Andreas Bicker, Art Basel’s head of business and management Europe, and report to Vincenzo de Bellis, the company’s director of fairs and exhibition platforms.
De Bellisi called Cruse a “proven leader in the field and an enthusiastic partner to galleries, artists, and collectors,” noting the work she’s done in turning Gallery Weekend Berlin into an “annual showcase that is deeply embedded in the city and unites its diverse cultural actors.”
Noah Horowitz praised Cruse for her “excellent understanding and appreciation of our brand and longstanding ties to the city of Basel and its cultural scene.”
“I am confident that her entrepreneurial mindset, her consummate professionalism, and her unwavering commitment to contemporary art make her uniquely equipped to lead our flagship show in our home city and steering its future direction,” he said.
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