Man accused of stabbing prominent NYC art dealer to death arrested in Brazil

Brent Sikkema, 75, was found dead on Monday with 18 stab wounds in his Rio de Janeiro apartment

WILL RAGOZZINO/PMc/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A suspect was arrested in the brutal killing in Brazil of a New York City art dealer who was the co-owner of a prominent gallery in Manhattan, police said Thursday.

Brent Sikkema, 75, was found dead on Monday with 18 stab wounds in his Rio de Janeiro apartment.

Rio state police arrested a man who they identified as Alejandro Triana Trevez near the city of Uberaba, in the neighboring state of Minas Gerais. The man, who local media say is Cuban, was on the run and was found resting in a gas station.

Police said that Trevez allegedly took $3,000 from Sikkema’s home. Detective Felipe Curi, who leads the state police homicide unit, told CBN Rio that the main line of investigation is theft leading to homicide.

“Initial findings of our investigation indicate that Alejandro (Trevez) came from Sao Paulo specifically to commit this crime,” Curi said. He then returned to Sao Paulo, leading investigators to believe he had “some kind of privileged information.”

Law enforcement obtained a 30-day prison warrant against Trevez, which Curi said would allow them to explore other leads and answer questions such as whether the two men knew each other.

Originally founded in 1991, Sikkema Jenkins & Co. shows works by Jeffrey Gibson, Arturo Herrera, Sheila Hicks, Vik Muniz, Kara Walker and other artists on 22nd Street in New York near the Chelsea Piers.

Sikkema began his career in 1971 at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, where he worked as director of exhibitions. He opened his first gallery in 1976 in Boston.

In 2021, during a trip to the Swiss city of Zurich, Sikkema described himself on Instagram as a “chaos kind of guy” and said Brazil and Cuba were his preferred type of destination.

Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, whose work has been showcased in Sikkema's gallery, paid tribute to his friend's great “humanity.”

“I have spent more than thirty years of my life trying to pointlessly emulate his juggling of fearlessness, kindness and sophistication,” Muniz wrote under a photo of his mother and Sikkema he posted this week on Instagram. “Brent coated his flaws with humor with the same grace he hid his immense talent behind humbleness.”

“I owe a lot of who I am as an artist to him, and with him, part of that seems to have disappeared forever,” Muniz wrote.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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