September 19, 2008 - Van Abbemuseum - Heartland
September 19, 2008


04/10/2008 – 25/01/2009

From 4 October 2008 until 25 January 2009, the interdisciplinary project Heartland will take place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Heartland focuses on the art and music of the geographical heart of the United States of America: the so-called Heartland. It consists of a major group exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum and a musical programme in Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, and includes debates, lectures, a photo exhibition, a magazine and publications. The Heartland project offers an introduction to a relatively unknown part of a very well known country, during a period when much of the world focuses in close up on the USA and its crucial presidential elections. After Eindhoven, the exhibition will travel back to the Heartland, where it will take a new form at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art in Fall 2009.

The exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum
The Heartland exhibition presents existing and newly commissioned works by artists from America and Europe. In our definition of the Heartland area, the exhibition roughly follows the Mississippi River and its tributaries from the south to the north, taking in an area from New Orleans up to Minneapolis in the north and including Omaha, Kansas City, Detroit and Chicago. The exhibition has been compiled by staff at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, who have made several research trips during which they established contacts and collaborations with local art scenes. They selected work by artists who live in the region–some for decades, some as newcomers–as well as work by artists who live elsewhere and have undertaken residencies in the region in order to produce new work. These varied positions yield a view of the area from both an American and a European perspective.

Artists in the exhibition
Artists included in the exhibition are (among others): Juan William Chavez, Cody Critcheloe, Peter Friedl, Scott Hocking, Carol Jackson, Matthew Day Jackson, Seth Johnson, Kerry James Marshall, Greely Myatt, Dan Peterman, Marjetica Potrč, Ernesto Pujol, Michael Rakowitz, Wilhelm Sasnal, Artur Silva, Deb Sokolow, Alec Soth, Aaron Spangler, the artists groups Design 99, Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop, Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, Simparch, The New Kinomatagraphic Union, Jaimie Warren & Whoop Dee Doo, as well as artists in residence Jeremiah Day and Julika Rudelius.

In collaboration with MU, Eindhoven, artists group Miss Rockaway Armada will present an exhibition and performance on 7, 8 and 9 November 2008 in Eindhoven.

The musical programme at Muziekcentrum Frits Philips
Included in the musical programme are (among others): Boo Boo Davis Mississippi Blues band, Clare & The Reasons, Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, Tim Easton & Leeroy Stagger, Jeffrey Foucault, Peter Guralnick, LOW and special guests, Ad van Meurs, Frank de Munnik, David Olney & Tommy Womack, Woven Hand, Muzsikás & Zapp String Quartet, and Ben Weaver.

As part of the Heartland project, an exhibition of photos by Ernest C. Withers will be on view at Muziekcentrum Frits Philips from 4 October until 14 November 2008.

For more information and a detailed programme, see
For an account and images of the research travels, as well as posts and photos by artists in the Heartland, see

Artistic team Heartland
Charles Esche, Director Van Abbemuseum
Kerstin Niemann, Research Curator Van Abbemuseum
Stephanie Smith, Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of
Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Frank Veenstra, Artistic Manager Muziekcentrum Frits Philips

Exhibition on tour
The Heartland exhibition will travel to the Smart Museum of Art, where a modified form of it will be shown from October 2009 until January 2010.

Partners / collaborations / subsidizers
The Heartland project is an ambitious collaboration between the Van Abbemuseum and the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago as an American partner. Other contributors are Rhodes College Center for the Outreach in the Development for the Arts, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, MU, Eindhoven. Heartland has been realised in part by a contribution of the city of Eindhoven and the Mondriaan Foundation.

Van Abbemuseum

Van Abbemuseum
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