Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Director in Asia, to Step Down in November

Adeline Ooi, who has, for nearly a decade, served as the Asia director for Art Basel, will leave her position at the end of November, according to a report from Artnet News. Her decision to step down to focus on “personal matters” was announced internally this week.

Ooi, who joined the art fair behemoth ahead of its third edition in 2015, was at the vanguard of Art Basel’s initiatives in Asia and helped solidify Hong Kong‘s dominance in the region and the importance of Asia within the global art market. Recent initiatives under her purview have included expanding Art Basel’s reach across Asia by partnering with local fairs and events like Art Week Tokyo and S.E.A. Focus in Singapore.

“Adeline has delivered a tremendous amount to the Art Basel organization and to our clients in the Asian context and also at a global level. We’re really saddened to see her leaving,” Noah Horowitz, Art Basel’s chief executive, told Artnet.

The predecessor fair to Art Basel Hong Kong was ART HK: Hong Kong International Art Fair, which was founded by Magnus Renfrew in 2007. Art Basel acquired that fair in 2012 and Renfrew served as its director until 2014; Ooi was hired to replaced him when he left to join Bonhams.

Ooi’s resignation comes as the Art Basel goes through several structural changes. In 2020, Lupa Systems, an investment company founded and run by James Murdoch, purchase of a 38 percent stake in MCH Group, Art Basel’s parent company. Art Basel’s longtime director Marc Spiegler left the company in 2022, and was replaced by Noah Horowitz, who had served as Americas director before a brief departure into the auction world in 2021, as CEO, a newly created position.

For years, Art Basel’s fairs were overseen was regional directors like Ooi and Horowitz. But since last year, those positions have been eliminated. Instead each fair has its own director—Maike Cruse, for the Swiss fair, Bridget Finn for Art Basel Miami Beach, Angelle Siyang-Le in Hong Kong, and Clément Delépine for Paris+ par Art Basel—all of whom report directly to Vincenzo de Bellis, a former Walker Art Center curator who was hired as director of fairs and exhibition platforms. (De Bellis reports to Horowitz.)

Last month, Art Basel hired Hayley Romer, former publisher of the Atlantic, to be its chief growth officer, which is also a newly created position, as well as Craig Hepburn, previously the head of digital at the Union of European Football Associations, to serve as chief digital officer.