The Collection: A New Context for Art Projects in Care Institutions

The Collection: A New Context for Art Projects in Care Institutions

SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain

Karin Sander
Installation Lehmbruck Museum
Duisburg, Germany (2008)
Photo: Gert Hatje

January 11, 2010

The Collection
A New Context for Art Projects in Care Institutions

The end of an era and the start of a new beginning

SKOR (Foundation Art and Public Space)
Ruysdaelkade 2
1072 AG Amsterdam
Tel: 0031-20-672 25 25

Many of the moments of sorrow and joy that can mark a human life take place within the walls of care institutions. Here, patients, doctors, nurses, family members and friends are often confronted with the most fundamental human questions about sickness and health, life and death. Since time immemorial, these themes have been a source of inspiration for artists. For 25 years, SKOR (Foundation Art and Public Space) and its predecessor, the Praktijkbureau Beeldende Kunstopdrachten (Bureau for Visual Art Assignments) has been developing art projects that express this delicate relationship between art and healthcare. Alongside young and promising new artists, celebrated artists with an international reputation like Marijke van Warmerdam, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Aernout Mik and many others have created almost 350 works of art for hospitals, psychiatric institutions, nursing homes and rehabilitation clinics throughout the country.

The introduction of a new Public Healthcare Act on 1 January 2006 brought to an end the specific arrangement on the basis of which it had been possible to create works of art for newly-built healthcare institutions. The abolishment of the arrangement by no means signified an end to this particular tradition. SKOR launched the idea of The Collection, to make it possible to continue producing art projects aimed at eliciting a contemporary response, with a view to activating and updating this tradition. The works of art that make up The Collection are not exclusively reserved for the clients, personnel and visitors of care institutes. Given that healthcare is one of the most important social issues that affect all people, irrespective of their national, ethnic, religious or social background, the stated intention is to multiply the exposure of such works of art, in the broadest possible range of contexts. If works of art like film – and video productions and installations are for example loaned to museums or for international events, they can enter into a different level of dialogue with an entirely different audience, in new and different settings, outside the walls of care institutions. The innovative plan therefore is to create a ‘shared collection’ that can be circulated among the participating institutions.

The Collection can also be viewed as a platform for people occupying key positions in the care sector and the world of art. It gives them an opportunity to contribute relevant themes and to maintain contact with institutions themselves wishing to participate in and contribute to this plan in terms of both content and financing.

The first three projects undertaken as part of The Collection can be seen during the exhibition ‘Not Normal’ (in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam from 16 December 2009 to 8 March 2010). The artworks are from Pharmacopoeia (UK): Cradle to Grave; David Bade (NL): Normalitairism and Karin Sander (DE)


Simultaneously with the launch of The Collection, SKOR aims to mark the conclusion of an important period in its history, with the publication of the book The Collection. 25 Years of Art Projects in Care Institutions 1985-2009. This publication contains almost 350 works of art created by SKOR and its predecessor, the Praktijkbureau Beeldende Kunstopdrachten (Bureau for Visual Art Assignments) over the past 25 years. With this publication, SKOR is not only marking the end of one period, but is also launching the start of a new policy in respect of art in care institutions, including nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric institutions and institutions for the mentally disabled. In addition to being a catalogue raisonné, this book contains numerous essays elaborating on the context in which the works were created.

Authors: Marianne Brouwer, Bram Kempers, Cor Wagenaar a.o., editors Liesbeth Melis and Tom van Gestel, isbn: 978-90-806408-4-9, pages: 512, Dutch and English.

To order the book please go to our webshop:

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January 11, 2010

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