For this years Document Nederland, the photo-documentary produced annually by the Rijksmuseum
and the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad, Dana Lixenberg travelled for a year across the Netherlands to create a portrait of the office of mayor. She met and portrayed male and female mayors in 22 different municipalities in all of the Dutch provinces going from Amsterdam to Zeewolde, and from Ferwerderadeel to Kerkrade.
There are 418 mayors in the Netherlands. We see them wearing their chain of office on the Queens Birthday or talking to the press when disaster strikes. But what does the mayors job look like on an average working day? Using a large format camera, Lixenberg highlights the unspectacular and sets the everyday of the civil service against a characteristic Dutch backdrop.
Featuring a selection of 55 photographs, the exhibition presents a crosssection of Dutch government, policy and both urban and rural issues.
Document Nederland: The Mayor. An everyday office photographed by Dana Lixenberg will be on display at the Amsterdam Museum from 15 October 2011 to 29 January 2012.
Lixenberg found a well organized and composed country, with the mayor firmly in command and orchestrating the local government. According to Lixenberg, A new bicycle path or a windmill park, public order and safety in the street, policies for recreation and the environment, these are all of equal concern to him or her.
Document Nederland is a photography exhibition organised yearly by the Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad, focusing on a topical social phenomenon. In addition to the exhibition at the Amsterdam Museum, the photographs will also be published in a supplementary section of NRC Handelsblad on 14 October 2011.
A native of Amsterdam born in 1964, Dana Lixenberg currently lives in New York and became known for her portraits of famous Americans including Prince, Sean Penn, Puff Daddy and Donald Trump. She also works on her own projects, often focusing on the underprivileged, as in her portraits of the homeless in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 2005, or The Last Days of Shishmaref in 2007 about a small Inupiaq community in Alaska doomed by the changing climate to disappear. In the spring of 2011 photography museum FOAM hosted her exhibition Set Amsterdam, a series of portraits of locations in Amsterdam.
Document Nederland Jr.
Eleven secondary school pupils, selected from three classrooms, also looked at Dutch mayors, participating in a special photography masterclass provided by the Rijksmuseum as part of the Document Nederland Jr. project. This annual photography project has been organised by the Rijksmuseum since 2006 and is financed by the Sem Presser Fund, a named fund of the Rijksmuseum. The resulting photo series will be displayed together with the work of Dana Lixenberg.