Brent Sikkema, who founded the Manhattan gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co, was found dead in Rio de Janeiro on Monday (15 January), according to Brazilian media reports. Sikkema was 75. Sikkema Jenkins & Co confirmed his death in a statement.
“It is with great sadness that the gallery announces the passing of our beloved founder, Brent Sikkema,” the gallery said in a statement posted to its website Tuesday (16 January). “The gallery grieves this tremendous loss and will continue on in his spirit.”
The case is being investigated as a homicide by police in Rio de Janeiro, according to CNN Brasil, which also reported Sikkema was discovered dead Monday night with stab wounds that may have been caused by a weapon such as scissors, a box cutter or a screwdriver. The apartment where Sikkema was found is located in Jardim Botânico, an upscale, leafy neighbourhood of Rio.
Sikkema was born in 1948 and raised in Illinois. After attending the San Francisco Art Institute, he was hired as the exhibitions director at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York in 1971. He worked at Vision Gallery in Boston between 1976 and 1989. After relocating to New York City in 1981, he co-founded a contemporary art gallery in Soho, then called Wooster Gardens. The gallery moved to Chelsea in 1999 and later changed its name to Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co is one of New York’s most prominent galleries, and notably represents Jeffrey Gibson, who will represent the US at this year’s Venice Biennale. The gallery has also worked with artists like Sheila Hicks, Vik Muniz, Kara Walker, Maria Nepomuceno and Louis Fratino.