Roderick van der Lee is the Director of Unseen Fair, Amsterdam
Episode 371: Roderick van der Lee is the Director of Amsterdam’s annual Unseen Fair. The fair caters to contemporary lens-based art and is one of the significant photography-related festivals of the year.
I first had the opportunity to cross paths with Roderick during his takeover of the fair in 2020. Though Roderick had taken over the fair from its former organizer, FOAM, slightly earlier, it was the first chance that I had an opportunity to speak with him regarding the structural changes of the fair and also the clearing of some back issues related to the former handlers payouts to artists, notably the publication of an open letter from Felicity Hammond to the former board, which I covered through American Suburb X.
Though there was some acrimony involved with the open letter, I want to suggest that Roderick, not shying away from the issue, contacted me to see if I would publish a response to Felicity on ASX. I thought it was a daring, brave, and honest move that resulted in the artist getting paid back wages from the former company’s poor management. Under Roderick, the new management, the new company faced and dealt with the complaint. I would suggest this level of confronting these issues publicly is quite rare. My respect for Roderick as a businessman and human was significantly increased by his bold act of penning a letter accepting responsibility for the former company’s management and for making a continued pledge to move the fair forward, which, skip a few years later, he has done.
In the episode, we spoke about Roderick’s history with auction houses, photography, auction catalogs, and his role as director of Unseen. It was a lively discussion with plenty of humor, and I have to say that I greatly respect the man and his efforts. Please tune in!!!.