Just a week after the launch of Art Basel’s first Paris edition, the leading art fair company, which also hosts events in Switzerland, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong, has announced a major change in its leadership.
Marc Spiegler, who has been with Art Basel for over 15 years, will depart his role as global director, and he will be succeeded in the newly created role of CEO by an Art Basel veteran, Noah Horowitz. The news was first reported by Artnet News.
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Spiegler will stay on through the end of the year, including for the run of the 20th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, which is scheduled to take place November 29–December 3, while Horowitz will rejoin the company on November 7.
“As the outgoing Global Director, Marc Spiegler will hand over the running of the business to Noah Horowitz at this juncture,” according to a release.
In 2007, Spiegler joined MCH Group, Art Basel’s parent company, as co-director of the fair, and was named global director in 2012. During his tenure, he staged 43 art fairs, including the first editions in Hong Kong and Paris, which launched in 2013 and 2022, respectively.
“Under the leadership of Marc Spiegler, Art Basel has developed into what it is today—one of the most prestigious and valuable brands in the international art market,” Andrea Zappia, MCH’s board chairman, said in a statement. “Our thanks go to Marc for his great personal commitment, his networking in the global world of art and his notable successes in the development of Art Basel.”
Spiegler’s departure comes nearly two years after Art Basel’s parent company, MCH Group, received an $80 million investment (resulting in 49 percent stake) from James Murdoch and his Lupa Systems, which saw Murdoch and two others from the firm join MCH’s board.
“I am leaving Art Basel on a high note,” Spiegler said in a statement, referring to this month’s launch of the Art Basel fair in the French capital, titled Paris+. “Leading the next stage of Art Basel’s evolution will take many years and a different set of skills. … [I]t has come time to pass the baton. Fortunately, my friend Noah Horowitz—the perfect person to carry Art Basel forward—will be leading that development.”
Horowitz headed up the Art Basel Miami Beach fair as the firm’s Americas director beginning in 2015; he previously served as the executive director of the Armory Show in New York for four years. He returns to Art Basel after having left a year ago to join Sotheby’s as the auction house’s worldwide head of gallery and private dealer services.
His abrupt departure shocked the art market and, at a time when large-scale, in-person events were only beginning to resume, cast doubt on whether art fairs could successfully be restaged during and after the pandemic.
“We are convinced that Noah’s business acumen, digital experience and extensive relationships within the international gallery and collecting community will be instrumental in further developing Art Basel and delivering on the company’s ambitious growth plans at its home base as well as internationally,” Zappia said.
Added Florian Faber, MCH Group CEO, “Noah is held in high esteem in the industry, uniting an in-depth understanding of the art market and its players with a lifelong passion for the visual arts, business knowledge and digital transformation. Together with Noah, we will consolidate the position of Art Basel as a globally leading platform for modern and contemporary art and forge ahead with our innovative initiatives.”