An Open Letter to Felicity Hammond From Art Rotterdam/The New Unseen


American Suburb X


Subject: Open letter to Felicity Hammond

Amsterdam, 17-02-2020



Dear Felicity,

We are Fons Hof and Johan de Bruijn, the owners of the “new” Unseen. We have read your open letter and are very sorry for the way you have been treated, more so as you are a new mother who should be filled with joy instead of worries during this time.

On 10 February, one day prior to your open letter, we placed our final bid on the assets of the bankrupt Unseen organization, hoping that the old debts would be paid for a substantial part with the acquisition funds we paid.

As the CEO of Art Rotterdam, one of the biggest art fairs in the Netherlands, and as founders of, anonline platform that aims to make contemporary art more accessible, we feel the Unseen festival is of great importance to the international art scene.

Obviously, it is the custodian of the bankrupt estate who is aware of the total list of creditors and they should be dealing with them. We were not aware of, nor responsible for, dealing with all creditors left unpaid by the former owners of Unseen.

However, as we are committed to art, and artist such as yourself, who make this sector thrive, we have decided to use our own funds to reimburse the artists who are owned money by the prior Unseen management and who made Unseen a success.

This Saturday we received a list of 26 outstanding artist payments owed by the bankrupt entities. We herewith offer to take over these 26 claims of the artists to the bankrupt estate. This means we are going to pay you in full out of our own resources – and then we will try to collect whatever of your claims can be paid out of the bankrupt estate for ourselves.

Please understand that we operate without any relation to the former management or the foundation. We will organize future editions of Unseen with the same transparency and trust we’ve shown doing 21 years of Art Rotterdam.


We hope you trust our management capabilities and are assured we’ll do the right thing. Feel free to contact us any time.

All the best,

Fons & Johan

Please read more details on


Editor’s Note: We are extremely enthusiastic about the response by Art Rotterdam, the new manager of the Unseen fair and their decision to remedy unpaid expenses on behalf of the artists (26 in total) who experienced non-payment during the collapse of Unseen. The directors have issued a letter to our firm and two other media outlets, both who participated in distributing the unfortunate news within their networks. Art Rotterdam purchased the fair while this unfortunate chain of events was percolating and had little to no indication of the debt to artists held by Unseen. In clarity, the firm recognizes that artists should be paid in order for the fair to continue and that further, their offer to pay will indirectly benefit their public image and future support from the community. We recognize their efforts and feel it is fair to publish their letter on the grounds of their decision to pay and establish the continuation of their brand without enmity from the community. This is a win and it has been sponsored by the bravery of Hammond, the media outlets and writers (particularly for Tom Seymour for The Art Newspaper) who stood in support and the new owners of Unseen Art Rotterdam, whose clarity of vision on the matter is laudable.

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