In the presence of Her Royal Highness Queen Beatrix, the renovated and expanded Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
will celebrate its official re-opening on Saturday, September 22, 2012. This leading international institution of modern and contemporary art will begin welcoming the public on September 23, following the most ambitious transformation in its history.
A complete renovation of the Stedelijks historic 1895 building, designed by A.W. Weissman, has converted virtually all of its spaces into galleries, enabling the first comprehensive display the Stedelijk has ever mounted of its permanent collection, widely acknowledged to be among the most important in the world. The vibrant new building designed by Mels Crouwel of Benthem Crouwel Architects, measuring 9,423 square meters (101,428 square feet), will provide vast new space for the Stedelijks renowned and influential temporary exhibitions, as well as a host of new amenities. The innovative design also re-orients the entire Museum to face onto the great public lawn of Amsterdams Museumplein (Museum Plaza), creating an active common ground for the first time among the Stedelijk and its neighbors, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Concertgebouw.
With this long-awaited opening, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam will reaffirm and strengthen its place among leading international art institutions, cast light on todays Amsterdam as a center of artistic experimentation and bring new life to the Museumplein, one of the worlds most important cultural landscapes, Stedelijk Director Ann Goldstein stated. What is more, with the completion of Mels Crouwels bold yet brilliantly functional building, we add a major new work to our collection of Dutch modern design.
The inaugural temporary exhibition Beyond Imagination (on view through November 11) features new projects and commissioned works by an invited group of 20 artists, both Dutch and foreign-born, all active in the Netherlands. It is installed in the new second-floor galleries where it also extends into the auditorium and public spaces, and in several spaces in the historic building.
Another temporary exhibition, Works in Place (on view through November 4), is the first to be presented in the new buildings 1,092 square meters (11,754 square feet) column-free, open plan gallery. It features a major presentation of large-scale contemporary works and installations from the collection, with works by Carl Andre, Rodney Graham, Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Melvin Moti, Sigmar Polke and Diana Thater, among others.
The Stedelijk is proceeding with its plans for the eagerly anticipated retrospective Mike Kelley, which will open on December 15, 2012, and then travel to other major museums in Europe and the United States.
The Permanent Collection
With the opening of the renovated and expanded Stedelijk Museum, one-half of the ground floor of the historic 1895 building is now dedicated to an installation of visual arts from the 1870s to the 1960s, presented in a dozen galleries. Although roughly chronological overall, the installation offers distinct groups of works organized by subject matter (Landscape/ Cityscape), movement (Expressionism), time period (Around 1913) and other themes. Among the highlights are key works in the careers of Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, Chaïm Soutine, Marc Chagall, Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Kazimir Malevich, Charley Toorop, Max Beckmann, Jackson Pollock, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel and other artists of the CoBrA group. Inner rooms, protected from the light, permit shorter-term installations of works on paper (a major group by Malevich for the opening installation) and the Stedelijks outstanding collection of photography.
The other half of the ground floor ring of the 1895 building is now dedicated to the Stedelijks first installation of its highly important collection of industrial design, graphic design and applied arts. Organized in three main sections (the development of modernism, 1900-1950; postwar modernism, 1950-1980; and post-modernism to the present, 1980 onward), the installation encompasses groups of glassware, ceramics, jewelry, posters, furniture and textiles, presented so as to bring to light the changing relationships among craft, design, technology and social ideals. Although the installation is fully international, and includes major figures ranging from Josef Hoffmann through Philippe Starck and Ettore Sottsass, special attention is paid to a part of design history that can be fully appreciated only at the Museum: the work of De Stijl, the major interventions of the Stedelijk itself (such as its landmark 1968 exhibition Vormgevers, or Designers) and the influence of the Stedelijks own graphic design team, including director Willem Sandberg and long-time in-house designer Wim Crouwel (father of the architect of the new Stedelijk, Mels Crouwel). Among the highlights on view are the complete Harrenstein Bedroom, 1926, by Gerrit Rietveld. A suite of galleries in the design ring, set aside for temporary exhibitions, will open with an examination of the influence of the Bauhaus in the Netherlands, from industrial design to textiles, typography and photography.
The second floor of the 1895 building features changing displays from the Stedelijks renowned collections of major works of visual art, from the 1960s through the present. These include signature works such as La perruche et la sirène by Henri Matisse, The Beanery by Edward Kienholz (which has recently undergone a thorough restoration), Charlene by Robert Rauschenberg and Bellevue II by Andy Warhol, as well as monographic rooms devoted to the work of Willem de Kooning, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Barnett Newman, Hanne Darboven and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others. Also on view are many gems that have not been seen for years, including works by Lee Bontecou, René Daniëls, Jan Dibbets, Lucio Fontana, Gilbert & George, Philip Guston, Joseph Kosuth, Yayoi Kusama, Brice Marden, Bruce Nauman, Gordon Matta-Clark and Jean Tinguely.
On view with the re-opening are new acquisitions to the Stedelijks distinguished collection. Notable among these are H.M., a portrait of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands by Luc Tuymans (2012); the painting Osama (2010) by Marlene Dumas; an historic two-part installation by Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Piet Mondrian through his preferred colors, red, yellow and blue) and Untitled (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green) 2, originally created in 1986 for the Stedelijks historic building and now reinstalled in the upper hallway surrounding the grand staircase; and a 16mm film by Mathias Poledna, Double Old Fashion (2009), shown in the former auditorium of the historic building in an installation designed by the artist.
Among the other new acquisitions on view are works by Barbara Bloom, Stanley Brouwn, Ger van Elk, Simone Forti, John Knight, Cady Noland, Martha Rosler, Danh Vo and Guido van der Werve.
The entrance hall of the new building is distinguished by two major artworks on an architectural scale. Petra Blaisse, Principal of the company Inside Outside, has created a textile hanging that covers the back wall of the restaurant and continues into the entrance hall, where it rises 14 meters (46 feet) to the top. The multilayered work uses imagery that alludes to the history of the Stedelijk and has been specially fabricated by the Dutch carpet manufacturer Desso.
Also rising to the top of the entrance hall is one of Louise Lawlers acclaimed series of large-format, stretched photographs, Produced in 1988, Purchased in 1989, Produced in 1989, Purchased in 1993, which has been acquired for the collection.
Immediately outside of the new building of the Stedelijk, on the Museumplein, the Museum has re-installed a monumental sculpture by Richard Serra, Sight Point (for Leo Castelli), which the artist conceived in 1972 but was able to execute only in 1975, when invited to realize the sculpture at the Stedelijk. The sculpture was removed from view in 1997, to accommodate a redesign of the Museumplein, and now has returned for the re-opening of the Stedelijk.
Inaugural Temporary Exhibitions
Beyond Imagination, on view from September 23 through November 11, is the latest in a series of long-established exhibitions that the Stedelijk has organized annually, giving an open call to all artists currently working in the Netherlands. Celebrating the return of the Stedelijk as the focal point of Amsterdams contemporary art scene, Beyond Imagination includes new projects and commissioned works by 20 artists, both Dutch and foreign-born, who are active today in Holland, highlighting the ongoing vitality of the Netherlands as a site of artistic experimentation.
In organizing this years exhibition, Stedelijk Museum curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen and guest curator Kathrin Jentjens (former director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, Germany) asked artists to consider the ways in which boundaries are now blurred between reality and imagination, authenticity and role-playing, with developments in fields such as politics, finance and media in mind. A total of 657 artists proposed responses to this theme and a jury made the final selection of 20 artists.
By featuring many works of a hybrid, process-based, performative character in its proposals for a future collection, Beyond Imagination also contributes to the continuing discourse about contemporary collection practice. Midway through the exhibition, the Museum will purchase a number of these works, with acquisition funds provided by the Municipality of Amsterdam.
The majority of the artists selected for Beyond Imagination are in their twenties and thirties. The youngest was born in 1988 and the oldest in 1932. Their countries of origin are the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, the U.K. and the U.S., but all either trained in the Netherlands or have participated in residency programs at Dutch institutions such as the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and De Ateliers in Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. The artists are James Beckett, Eric Bell and Kristoffer Frick, Rossella Biscotti, Eglé Budvytyté, Jeremiah Day, Christian Friedrich, Sara van der Heide, Suchan Kinoshita, Susanne Kriemann, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Snejanka Mihaylova, Rory Pilgrim, Falke Pisano, Julika Rudelius, Fiona Tan, Jennifer Tee, Jan van Toorn, Vincent Vulsma and Andros Zins-Browne.
Also on view at the time of the opening is a temporary exhibition of large-scale works and installations from the permanent collection, organized by Ann Goldstein with Stedelijk curators Leontine Coelewij and Bart Rutten. Works in Place is the first exhibition to occupy the distinctive 1,092-square-meter gallery in the Stedelijk Museums new wing, Works in Place looks at how contemporary artists use or address space. Since the 1960s, when artworks were no longer assumed to be conceptually or physically contained within a frame or on a pedestal, the space in which paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, installations and media-based works were presented also became integral to the experience of the work.
The collection of the Stedelijk Museum includes over 200 installations and large-scale works from the 1950s to the present. The ten presentations on view by Carl Andre, Rodney Graham, Joan Jonas, John Knight, Barbara Kruger, Steve McQueen, Melvin Moti, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Struth and Diana Thater represent, in various ways, how artists use space in the their work. Ideas of place and displacement enter into consideration, and where architectural space is integral to how their work is perceived and experienced. The exhibition highlights recent acquisitions and other works that enjoy optimal presentation in this new gallery space.
Mike Kelley and Future Exhibitions
From December 15, 2012, through April 1, 2013, the Stedelijk will present Mike Kelley, an exhibition representing Kelleys artistic practice from the 1970s until his untimely death in early 2012. The show will include paintings, sculptures, objects, works on paper, videos, performance and multi-media installations and will fill the entirety of the Stedelijks new building. This is the first comprehensive exhibition since 1993 of Mike Kelley, one of the most courageous, protean and provocative artists of our time, and is the largest overview of his work to date. The exhibition is organized by Stedelijk Museum Director Ann Goldstein, in cooperation with the Kelley Studio, the Estate of Mike Kelley, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. The curator of the first exhibition concept is Dr. Eva Meyer-Hermann. After its premiere at the Stedelijk Museum, the Kelley retrospective will travel to institutions including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA PS1 in New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Notable temporary exhibitions scheduled for 2013 include an overview of the work of the Dutch artist Aernout Mik, organized with the Museum Folkwang, Essen and the Jeu de Paume, Paris, and presentations of recent works by Lucy McKenzie, Jo Baer and Paulina Olowska. In 2014, the Stedelijk will present Jeff Wall, organized with the Museum Louisiana, Denmark; a large retrospective of the work of Marlene Dumas, organized with Tate Modern and Fondation Beyeler, Basel; and a large presentation of the work of Marcel Wanders, one of the leading Dutch designers. In 2015, an international Zero exhibition is being scheduled, organized with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. Also on the schedule in the coming years are a large exhibition on the Amsterdam School (the result of an extensive research project on this tradition of architecture and design) and an exhibition of work by the London-based Israeli designer Ron Arad.
The Architecture of the New Stedelijk
Although it is unmistakably different in appearance from the Museums original structure, the new building of the Stedelijk designed by Benthem Crouwel matches the scale and cornice line of the 1895 building and is connected to it directly, so that the two are fully integrated without either ones being compromised. According to Mels Crouwel, The Stedelijk Museum of Willem Sandberg, the director who put the Museum on the international map, was our starting point. He stripped the interior of decoration and had it painted white, creating a neutral background for art. Our plan for the exterior is based on retaining the 19th-century architecture, adding 21st-century technology and painting everything in Sandberg white.
The new building appears from the outside to be an entirely smooth white volume, oblong in shape and canted upward at one end, which is supported on white columns. Already known by many in Amsterdam by the nickname of the bathtub, this floating form, which spreads outward at the top into a broad, flat roof, is actually the envelope for the second-floor galleries and auditorium and the offices above. It is entirely encased in glass at the transparent ground-floor level, which houses the main entrance and lobby, bookstore and restaurant.
The roof of the new building has an overhang that creates a 2,000 square meter (21,528 square foot) sheltered outdoor plaza at ground level, where programmed activities can be staged and where visitors will be protected from the elements. This new plaza, and the reorientation of the main entrance onto the Museumplein, make the Stedelijk more than ever a part of the public life of Amsterdam. The innovations of Benthem Crouwels design meanwhile make the new building a part of the Stedelijks history of collecting, exhibiting and encouraging extraordinary modern design in the Netherlands.
Among the most remarkable features of the new building is the material that permits the creation of the smooth white surface: panels of a new composite material whose key ingredient is a synthetic fiber called Twaron®. Ordinarily used for the hulls of motorboats and racing yachts, for sailcloth, for aerospace and industrial components and for sports equipment such as tennis rackets and hockey sticks, Twaron is being used for the first time at the Stedelijk for a large-scale architectural facade. The Twaron compound not only provides an apparently seamless surface but also permits the construction of a structure that is five times as strong as steel with less than half the weight of a conventional curtain wall.
Notable features of the interior include a circulation system that allows visitors to enjoy exhibitions on different floors without distraction, by carrying them on an enclosed escalator that runs directly between the lower level and second floor.