In a cryptic press release issued on Monday, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam said that Beatrix Ruf, the institution’s former director who resigned amid accusations of conflicts of interest, and the museum had “agreed to leave the past behind.” According to the statement, Ruf will not return to her previous position. “She may, however, be invited to be involved in a specific exhibition or in other museum projects, under the responsibility of a future, as yet unappointed, artistic director,” the statement reads, in part.
“I am confident that the Stedelijk has a bright future ahead of it,” Ruf said in a statement. “And, if asked to do so, as former director I would of course be more than happy to make a small contribution to that every now and then.”
Ruf’s alleged conflicts of interest were first made public in October 2017 by the Dutch publication NRC, which reported that, when overseeing a 600-work donation to the museum by the collector Thomas Borgmann, she had failed to disclose certain details to the public. According to NRC, fines and clauses were written into the museum’s contract ensuring that work by artists such as Isa Genzken, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Cosima von Bonin would stay on view for certain periods of time. As director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, she had worked with galleries representing these artists. Additionally, Ruf was running the advisory firm Currentmatters, the profits of which were not reported on the Stedelijk’s annual report.
In response to the allegations, Ruf resigned from her post, which she had held for three years. A petition calling for her reinstatement was signed by many, and three board members left the museum. Eight months later, in June of last year, a new report found that the allegations against Ruf were unsubstantiated.
Truze Lodder, the chairperson of the Stedelijk’s supervisory board, said on Monday in a statement, “An independent investigation has cleared Beatrix Ruf of allegations reported in the media,” adding that “the report showed that Beatrix Ruf acted with integrity: her management BV was not an art consultancy and all of her side activities were approved by the then Supervisory Board. She has always put her heart and soul into the museum, and provided an impetus to the current artistic policy. In the future, the museum will treat her with the respect to which a former director of the Stedelijk is entitled.”
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