Pierre Huber and the Bologna Fiere spa Shanghai

February 20, 2008

The dealer and owner of Art&Public in Geneva, Pierre Huber, who founded ShContemporary (the Asian Pacific contemporary art fair in Shanghai) in 2007 has been suspended from his duties as Curator and Artisic Director.
The organization is controlled by three parties, including Lorenzo Rudolf and Bologna Fiere spa, which is headed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and is one of Europe’s leading fair organizers. Huber had set up the partnership with Bologna Fiere before the event, however, with time pressing the exact details of the agreement were postponed until after the fair. Huber therefore formally accepted Bologna Fiere as his partner on what at the time he believed to be on clearly established grounds.
However, in an astonishing turn of events and for reasons they declined to explain even though they had been invited to do so, Bologna Fiere withdrew their agreement and, while negotiating with Lorenzo Rudolf, decided not to cooperate further with Pierre Huber and to suspend him from his role.
Through his lawyers, Huber has informed Bologna Fiere that they could no longer use his ShContemporary concept and has severed any possibility of Bologna Fiere profiting from affiliation with his name in the future. In turn, Bologna Fiere has opened itself up to an arbitration procedure that will soon be launched.
However, controversy has followed Huber in many of his dealings in the arts, whose fortunes were quoted in Bilanz magazine to be 600,000,000 Swiss francs. Huber came into conflict with many of the galleries who were set to exhibit at ShContemporary, which saw many of them boycott the event. Indeed an ongoing feud with dealer Enrico Navarra was prompted in part by Navarra’s accusation that Huber was putting his own interests ahead of the fair’s – the presentation of one of Huber’s artists on the cover of the catalogue was a cited case in point. At last year’s Art Basel, many American gallerists demanded his Geneva-based gallery be excluded from the event and this year Huber will not be allowed to exhibit. Huber’s response in an interview in Le Temps on February 4th was unequivocal: “Everything I look at turns to gold. It’s only natural for that to arouse jealousy

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