(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – The art world is mourning the loss of Brent Sikkema, the esteemed founder of the prominent Manhattan gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co. On Monday, January 15, the 75-year-old art connoisseur was discovered dead in his apartment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, under mysterious circumstances.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co confirmed the tragic news in a statement released on Tuesday. “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founder, Brent Sikkema,” the gallery expressed. “His absence leaves an immeasurable void, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
The circumstances surrounding Sikkema’s death have raised questions and prompted an ongoing investigation by the Rio de Janeiro police. According to CNN Brasil, the case is being treated as a homicide. Reports indicate that Sikkema was found with multiple stab wounds, possibly inflicted by a sharp object like scissors, a box cutter, or a screwdriver. The incident occurred in Sikkema’s apartment located in the upscale Jardim Botânico neighborhood of Rio.
Brent Sikkema was born in 1948 and raised in Illinois. His passion for art led him to pursue studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1971, Sikkema took on the role of exhibitions director at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. His journey in the art world continued as he worked at Vision Gallery in Boston from 1976 to 1989.
In 1981, Sikkema made New York City his home and co-founded a contemporary art gallery in Soho, initially known as Wooster Gardens. The gallery’s relocation to Chelsea in 1999 marked a significant chapter, leading to its eventual renaming as Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co has established itself as one of New York’s most influential galleries, representing a diverse roster of talented artists. Notably, the gallery is responsible for representing Jeffrey Gibson, who will represent the United States at this year’s prestigious Venice Biennale. Other notable artists associated with the gallery include Sheila Hicks, Vik Muniz, Kara Walker, Maria Nepomuceno, and Louis Fratino.
Sikkema’s passing is a significant loss to the art community, and his legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of artists and art enthusiasts. As the investigation into his untimely death unfolds, the art world awaits further details and pays tribute to a visionary figure who dedicated his life to promoting and nurturing artistic expression.