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Even Under Renovation and Expansion, the Stedelijk Museum Opens a Major Exhibition
View of works in the exhibition Taking Place at the Stedelijk Museum. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam.
AMSTERDAM.- While work continues on the renovation and expansion of the Stedelijk Museum, the museum is hosting a unique and compelling program called The Temporary Stedelijk at the Stedelijk Museum. Conceived by Stedelijk Museum Director Ann Goldstein, this special interim program, inspired by the building as it approaches completion, brings art, artists and the public back into the museum. The Temporary Stedelijk features two major exhibitions: Taking Place, in which specifically selected works of contemporary art are presented in spaces throughout the building, and Monumentalism—History and National Identity in Contemporary Art Proposal for Municipal Art Acquisitions 2010, as well as a dynamic schedule of educational initiatives, screenings, performances and special events.

Taking Place invites visitors to renew their acquaintance with the Stedelijk Museum and its history. In the soon-to-be-finished building, works of art bring the spaces of the museum back to life. Inspired by the unique condition of the museum’s interior, artists occupy the galleries with specially selected works, including those previously exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum as well as new site-specific works produced specifically for this occasion.

In Taking Place the historical, functional and architectural conditions of the museum are both subject and material for this special presentation of works by local, national and international contemporary artists. The exhibition offers visitors a chance to explore the renovation by Benthem Crouwel Architects and reintroduces the Stedelijk Museum by addressing its history, the spatial and temporal conditions of the unfinished building and the ways in which artists use, occupy and animate museum spaces. Renovated gallery spaces on the ground and upper floors of the building ultimately designated for the presentation works from of the museum’s collection will, for this occasion, be used in an innovative and experimental way that takes advantage of their current state. Taking Place addresses the distinctive conditions of the building at this moment in time, offering the unusual opportunity to directly experience the luminous, gracefully proportioned gallery spaces, some of which will remain empty at strategic intervals between the room-size installations.

Taking Place also features a special presentation of posters commissioned by the Stedelijk Museum since its opening in 1895. For over a century, the Stedelijk Museum has used posters to inform the public about its exhibitions and has become one of the most important patrons of graphic design in the Netherlands. The reprinted designs exhibited relate the history of an institution that grew from an assortment of period rooms-cum-exhibition spaces into a pioneering museum for modern and contemporary art and design.

In addition, the exhibition includes two permanent works by Karel Appel that have—just like the building—been extensively restored: the Appel Bar (1951) and the 1956 mural in the former restaurant space, which has now been reconfigured into gallery space. That space is being used once again as a café for visitors for the duration of The Temporary Stedelijk only. The Appel mural is now joined by a work by American artist Lawrence Weiner: SCATTERED MATTER BROUGHT TO A KNOWN DENSITY WITH THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD / CUSPED (2007), a recent acquisition to the museum’s collection made possible by a gift from the Friends of the Stedelijk Museum.

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