Van Abbemuseum Opens Three New Exhibitions

The Van Abbemuseum opened three new exhibitions on Saturday 3 September 2011, which focus on the vital relationship of the museum with artists and art lovers from the local area and see the city of Eindhoven as a source of artistic inspiration. The museum has been bringing international contemporary art to Eindhoven for three quarters of a century. It has built up an international position, partly due to the productive links with the immediate artistic environment. Artists, collectors, governments and various public groups have created close connections with the museum. They are an important foundation for its existence and quality. The Van Abbemuseum is keen to enter a debate with people who support, challenge or question the museum’s ambitions. Each of the three exhibitions which comprise VANUIT HIER – OUT OF HERE focuses on the significance of artists, collectors and the city of Eindhoven for the Van Abbemuseum in its own way.

‘For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse
Eindhoven has an international, interdisciplinary art practice, forming a hub which appeals to and inspires other cities all over the world. The Van Abbemuseum and the city are a popular location with a wealth of art, and serve as a muse for both regional and international artists. This is clear from the numerous works which they created especially for the Van Abbemuseum, whether or not they were commissioned to do so. ‘For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse shows how artists are influenced by the characteristic qualities of the city as a centre for industrial production, a focus of innovative knowledge and expertise or a classical example of mid-20th-century town planning. Sometimes the artist responds directly to an existing reality while others take the collection of the museum as a starting point to reflect on art or develop works together with the local population. The exhibition has both older works – often reconstructed for the first time – and more recent reflections on Eindhoven and the role of the museum in the city. The artists selected by the curator Annie Fletcher include Rodney Graham, Gerrit van Bakel, Jan Dibbets, Joost van Roojen & Aldo van Eyck, Jason Rhoades, Stanley Brouwn, Hans Haacke and Gerard Byrne. ‘For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse shows how art challenges the cultural climate and is important for a deeper understanding of our own culture. In addition, the works which are exhibited form a unique collection of specific memories of the role which the Van Abbemuseum has played in the community for the past 75 years.

The Collectors Show
In 1936 the cigar manufacturer Henri van Abbe donated the first museum building to the council, together with an exploitation and purchasing budget. In this way the Van Abbemuseum is one of the institutions in the Netherlands which was established with the help of a private initiative. After Van Abbe many other regional art lovers – and sometimes even art collectors – followed and made it possible for the museum to grow. In The Collectors Show the museum values and examines the special relationship with its regional patrons. The members of the current Van Abbemuseum Promotors Foundation include about ten passionate collectors. In The Collectors Show they share some of the prized works from their own private collections with the outside world, often for the first time. Their collections include works by “classical” international artists such as Francis Picabia, Lee Lozano, Lynda Benglis and Paul McCarthy, but also works by younger talents such as Yael Bartana, Ryan Gander, Moyna Flannigan and Marc Bijl. In interviews they explain what art in general and these purchases in particular mean to them. In the museum tower the director of the museum Charles Esche and the curator Christiane Berndes respond to the very personal choices of these collectors with their own selection of artworks from these private collections. In this way they make cross connections between objects of art, owners and art movements. Piet Hein Eek, the internationally well-known designer who is based in Eindhoven, is responsible for the spatial design of the exhibition.

solo Dick Verdult If there is one artist from Eindhoven who makes local and international connections and serves as a model of disciplinary and cross-border diversity, it is Dick Verdult. Verdult is a member of the important generation of artists who emerged in the 1980s and also included René Daniëls and Henk Visch. As the son of a Philips employee, Verdult grew up in different continents, which accounts for his unique world view. For his first solo presentation this creator of music and images, who has acquired a cult status especially in South America and Japan, is returning to the city with which his artistry is closely related. And on Sundays we celebrate Friday is not a traditional retrospective exhibition. The exhibition, with mainly new works, shows how Verdult explores the tensions between the normal and the unusual, the chic and the everyday, using very diverse mediums. His settings, prints, pictures, film projections and audiotapes respond to current and universal intercultural misunderstandings. In his work he also normalises confusion. His view of reality, which is eclectic and permeated with a specific humour, is an invitation to develop new understanding of our global identity. One of his friends once said: “Everything anyone can do is by Dick Verdult”, or as Verdult said himself: “Nothing is what you do not recognize”.
The exhibition was established in cooperation with guest curator Andreas Broeckmann.

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