Cultural Comings and Goings: Bonhams’ Bruno Vinciguerra Steps Down and More

Courtney J. Martin and Cecilia Alemani are among the insiders stepping into new roles.

From the departure of Lincoln Center president Henry Timms to Courtney J. Martin’s appointment as new director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, here are some of the most notable role changes recently announced across the arts and culture spheres.

Bruno Vinciguerra steps down as CEO of Bonhams

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Bruno Vinciguerra first joined the auction house in 2018. Courtesy Bonhams

After leading Bonhams for more than five years, Bruno Vinciguerra is stepping down as its global CEO and executive chairman. The auctioneer did not provide a reason for his departure.

Vinciguerra joined Bonhams, which has flagship salesrooms in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, after an eight-year tenure as chief operating officer at Sotheby’s. “I am proud of what we have achieved since 2018 and I want to thank the incredible team at Bonhams without whom our accomplishments would not have been possible,” he said in a statement.

Throughout the past year, he oversaw the company’s acquisition of international auction houses like Bukowskis in Stockholm, Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Cornette de Saint Cyr in Paris and Skinner in Boston. Bonhams in 2023 also saw its highest-grossing year ever with $1.14 billion in turnover, marking a 14 percent growth in revenue.

“Bruno and I have shared the Bonhams journey since day one and I want to pay tribute to his leadership in transforming the business and to thank him for our partnership,” said Alex Fortescue, managing partner of private equity firm Epiris, in a statement. Epiris acquired the auction house in 2018 shortly before Vinciguerra was appointed CEO.

In the interim Bonhams will be led by its executive chair Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, who first joined the board more than three years ago. Hoejsgaard has more than three decades of global luxury experience and is a non-executive director of both Barclays Bank Switzerland and MCH Group, the Swiss parent company of the Art Basel and Masterpiece London fairs.

Courtney J. Martin to lead the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

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Courtney J. Martin will step into her new position later this year. Mara Lavitt

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has appointed Courtney J. Martin, the current director of the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA), as its new executive director. She will assume the role this spring.

Established by the late artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1990, the foundation is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. In addition to operating an artist residency program, it provides grants to art organizations and supports research on Rauschenberg’s body of work.

In a statement, Martin noted that she is particularly interested in working closely with artists and forwarding the foundation’s philanthropic initiatives. She will oversee its efforts on Rauschenberg’s catalogue raisonné, the expansion of its residency programs on Captiva Island, Florida, and its celebration of the artist’s upcoming centennial in 2025.

“Courtney’s extensive and varied institutional experience brings a valuable new perspective to the Foundation, and one that aligns perfectly with both our vision, ethos and of the multifaceted work that this role demands, said Christopher Rauschenberg, the foundation’s president and the son of Rauschenberg, in a statement.

Having directed the YCBA since 2019, Martin helped introduce digital initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic like the at home: Artists in Conservation and Architects in Conversation: To Build for Art series and in 2022 organized the first U.S.  retrospective of Bridget Riley paintings in more than two decades.

Martin previously contributed to YCBA’s 2007 exhibition Art and Emancipation in Jamaica while earning a Ph.D. in art history at Yale. Before joining the organization, she taught at Vanderbilt University, Brown University and the University of California, Berkeley and served as chief curator and deputy director of the Dia Art Foundation.

Henry Timms to leave Lincoln Center

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Henry Timms will depart the cultural institution this summer. Courtesy Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is losing its leader. Henry Timms, who has overseen the Manhattan-based cultural institution since 2019, is leaving to join a global advisory firm known as the Brunswick Group.

Himms helmed the institution throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and notably oversaw its $550 fundraising initiative to renovate the David Geffen Hall, a project completed nearly two years ahead of schedule. He also led efforts to diversify the institution’s staff and programming and helped launch its inclusive Summer for the City festival.

“First thing each morning as I walk across campus, I still can’t believe that I get to work at Lincoln Center, let alone serve as president,” said Timms in an internal memo to staff that described the past five years as “perhaps the most challenging in Lincoln Center’s history.” He described his decision to depart the institution this summer to lead Brunswick Group as “a chance to explore some of my interests outside the arts and take a global perspective.” Steve Swartz, chair of the Lincoln Center’s board, will oversee finding his replacement.

Before joining the Lincoln Center, Himms previously served as president and CEO of 92nd Street Y, a New York-based cultural center. And in 2012 he created “Giving Tuesday,” a philanthropic movement that has helped raise more than $13 billion since its founding.

Cecilia Alemani to curate SITE Santa Fe’s 12th Biennial

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Cecilia Alemani previously worked on the 59th Venice Biennale. Courtesy The High Line/Liz Ligon

The nonprofit arts organization SITE Santa Fe has named Cecilia Alemani the curator of its 12th biennial. Scheduled to open in the summer of 2025, it will be the first edition of the SITE SANTA FE International, formerly known as the SITE Santa Fe Biennial, since 2018.

The New Mexico-based biennial was founded in 1995 as the first international contemporary art biennial in the U.S. Previous curators have included the likes of Francesco Bonami, Dave Hickey, Candice Hopkins, Rosa Martinez and Robert Storr.

“As a champion of the voice of the artist, Cecilia Alemani’s curatorial approach fits seamlessly with our artist-centric vision for SITE Santa Fe, and we look forward to the new works, ideas and dialogues that will emerge from her curatorial vision,” said Louis Grachos, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.

Alemani is the current director and chief curator of High Line Art, a public art program presented by New York’s High Line. The Italian curator has worked on a host of exhibitions including Tetsuya Ishida: My Anxious Self, a Sept. 2023 retrospective of Japanese painter Tetsuya Ishida held by Gagosian Gallery in New York. She also served as artistic director of the 59th Venice Biennale, curating The Milk of Dreams exhibition, and in 2017 curated the Italian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.

SITE Santa Fe has long had close ties to the Venice Biennale, with four of its SITE SANTA FE International curators having also worked on the Venice show. Alongside the Portland Art Museum, the organization will be co-presenting Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition for the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s 60th Venice Biennale

Cultural Comings and Goings: Bonhams’ Bruno Vinciguerra Steps Down and More