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Dutch Court Upholds De Appel’s Decision to Dismiss Former Director Lorenzo Benedetti

An Amsterdam District Court has ruled that the contract between De Appel, in Amsterdam, and its former director Lorenzo Benedetti must be dissolved, reports NRC. The museum’s board said in a hearing last month that Benedetti lacked leadership skills, and staff members had lodged complaints about his absence and communication style.

Benedetti was fired on September 14, provoking a row in the art world. Artists, dealers, and curators—including Beatrix Ruf and Charles Esche—rallied behind him, and a petition, capturing widespread outrage at the museum board’s decision, was initiated by seventy-six prominent artists from around the world. “As artists we believe that Benedetti’s firing stems from a more fundamental problem and it is through this collective letter of concern that we want to call attention to our view on the matter,” reads the statement, which went on to gather an additional 600-plus signatures. On top of that, numerous artists have pulled out of a fundraising campaign for the museum in protest; many of the institution’s tutors have left as well.

In the hearing, Benedetti had proposed hiring a coach and a private personal assistant as a way to address the board’s criticisms, but the judge felt his defense ignored the severity of the criticism of his performance. Now, with the court ruling in favor of De Appel, he will receive no severance pay.