Gallerist Nicole Calderòn has parted company with her controversial business partner, Michael Ruiz, having dropped his name from their joint gallery in New York, Calderòn Ruiz, now called simply Calderòn.
“[We will] continue the gallery’s mission to diligently foster the careers of Latinx artists,” Nicole Calderon said in a statement to Hyperallergic, which first reported the news. “I am extremely dedicated to supporting these artists today and always.”
Earlier this month, Artnet News reported that Ruiz, who also runs Berlin’s Future Gallery, had allegedly failed to inform his artists that he’d sold their work, or pay them for it. It was also revealed that Ruiz had been accused of withholding work by artists, including that of Estrid Lutz who said that she took to social media to try to secure the return of between 40 and 50 works that Ruiz had from when she was represented by the gallery, in 2016 to 2018.
Lutz told Artnet News that she has received some of what she is owed, but is still without her collector list and that Ruiz refuses to ship her work outside of Europe to where she lives in Mexico.
Meanwhile, another artist who was represented by Future Gallery said: “I found out from a collector who emailed me that they had bought a work of mine from Ruiz, which I had not been told about and had not been paid for.”
The outcry came just as Ruiz had announced he was setting up shop with Calderon in New York.
“I am pleased for the artists she represents that Nicole Calderòn has broken with Mike,” Lutz said.”It made me sad to read that he said he wanted to lift up Latinx artists as he has damaged my career and the careers of others.”
Neither Calderòn nor Ruiz immediately responded to requests for comment.