The Stedelijk Museum concludes its 125th anniversary with the publication of the first issue of Szine, a regular zine that publishes new research on various aspects of the museum. Each edition explores an aesthetic, ethical or social issue of topical interest to the Stedelijk. A print edition of 1,000 copies of Szine will be on sale in the museum shop, and available online, for free, in PDF. Together with Stedelijk Studies, the online peer-reviewed scholarly platform of the Stedelijk, Szine will act as a catalyst to bring research at the Stedelijk to a wider audience.
For the inaugural issue, the Stedelijk commissioned cultural historian Nancy Jouwe to conduct research into the cultural and financial circumstances surrounding the founding of the museum. It was common knowledge that a group of wealthy local citizens founded the Stedelijk as a museum of modern and contemporary art and design. However, not much was known about the origin of the funds, and in which cultural-historical and colonial context this took place; at the same time, there have been recent conjectures and speculations about this.
Besides the article by Nancy Jouwe, the Szine also contains an interview between Yvette Mutumba, curator at large at the Stedelijk, and director Rein Wolfs, about Jouwes findings, and the future of the museum.
With the title The Stedelijk: A Museum in Imperial Amsterdam, Jouwe places the Stedelijk Museum in the cultural-historical context of the late 19th century. She describes how the wealth gained in colonised countries was used to project an aura of cultural discernment, aided and endorsed by an ambitious city council government. Jouwes article can be read in tandem with the editorial by Maurice Rummens, in Stedelijk Studies Journal issue 11, on the material history of the museum, and the editorial by Yvette Mutumba on the current European social environment of museums.
Rein Wolfs: In the past year, because of ongoing challenges related to the pandemic, we could not celebrate our 125th anniversary in the way we would have liked. However, we were able to look back on our institution in a variety of ways. It is essential that a museum of modern and contemporary art and design also draws on the past to gain deeper insights into the present. Research for our recent exhibition on the work of the Expressionists Kirchner and Nolde, and a contribution by artist Timo Demollin on the International Colonial and Export Trade Exhibition on Museumplein in 1883 for the exhibition In the Presence of Absence, were the impetus for this first Szine. We are delighted that we are now able to provide answers to a broader range of questions.
Charl Landvreugd, Head of Research and Curatorial Practices at the Stedelijk: With each Szine, we aim to create a different awareness relating to the Stedelijks approach to aesthetic, ethical and social issues inside, and outside, the museum walls. For which research plays a fundamental role. In the first Szine, Nancy Jouwe examines the big picture, scrupulously shedding light on the context and era in which the Stedelijk originated. Her perspective, combined with the conversation between Rein and Yvette about the present and the future, equips us with a broad view of the museum, and ways in which we can use this knowledge to create a balanced, contemporary museum awareness.
Now online: Stedelijk Studies 11
The Stedelijks debut issue of Szine is accompanied by the publication of Stedelijk Studies 11 in response to an Open Call about the museums 125th anniversary. Contents:
Yvette Mutumba and Maurice Rummens, The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at 125 Years (editorials);
Fabienne Chiang, After(-)Images: Problematizing Collections of Early Documentary and Anthropological Photography in the Art Museum in the Postcolonial Age;
Gülce Özkara, Space, Movement, and Body: Marlow Moss;
Joanna Mardal, Revisiting Wim Beerens European Utopia: Wanderlieder Thirty Years Later;
Ali T. Asad, (Re)collections, (De)collections, and the People Curatorial;
Oscar Ekkelboom, Exhibiting Surinamese Histories of Art: Curatorial Approaches Towards Diversity;
Najiba Yasmin, In All Fairness: An Exploration of Ethical Collaborative Practices;
Deiara Kouto and Anne Bielig, From Fiction tot Knowledge, Unveiling histories in contemporary cultural institutions (addendum);
Mariana Lanari, Reading as Sculpture: A new layer for the library in ruins (artists contribution).
The articles can be read on the website of Stedelijk Studies
, the Stedelijks online international peer-reviewed academic research platform.