Art Gallery Founder Brent Sikkema Found Dead in Rio Apartment: Police Investigate Stabbing

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Brent Sikkema, the founder of a renowned contemporary-art gallery in New York, has been confirmed dead at the age of 75, according to a statement from his art gallery. Brazilian authorities reported that Sikkema was found dead in his apartment in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, with stab wounds that may have been caused by a box cutter or screwdriver. The Sikkema Jenkins & Co. art gallery expressed profound sadness over the loss and vowed to carry on in his spirit.

Scott Briscoe, a manager at the gallery, declined to comment further, deferring to the official statement. Simone Nunes, Sikkema’s lawyer, revealed that she had attempted to contact him over the weekend but was unable to reach him. Nunes discovered his body when she entered his home using a spare key she had for watching over the apartment while he was away.

Local reports stated that firefighters in Rio de Janeiro removed Sikkema’s body from the apartment and took it to the Legal Medical Institute. However, the details of these events could not be independently verified by The Washington Post.

The United States State Department confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen in Rio de Janeiro and offered condolences to the family. They assured that they would provide all necessary assistance to the grieving family.

Born in 1948 in Illinois, Sikkema graduated from the now-defunct San Francisco Art Institute. He began his career in art galleries in 1971, serving as the director of exhibitions at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y. He later became the director and owner of the Vision Gallery in Boston. In 1991, Sikkema moved to New York City and opened his own contemporary-art gallery, which eventually became Sikkema Jenkins & Co. The gallery is well-known for representing contemporary Black artists and currently represents 32 artists.

Among the artists represented by the gallery is Jeffrey Gibson, who will be representing the United States in the 60th annual Venice Biennale, making him the first Indigenous artist to do so. Gibson, who is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, is gaining recognition for his powerful work.

The art world mourns the loss of Brent Sikkema, a visionary gallery owner who played an important role in shaping the contemporary art scene. The legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire and influence the art community.