June 16, 2017 - Van Abbemuseum - Demodernising the collection
September 21–23, 2017
June 16, 2017

Van Abbemuseum

Installation view The Making of Modern Art, Van Abbemuseum, 2017. Photo Peter Cox.

Demodernising the collection
September 21–23, 2017

Van Abbemuseum
Bilderdijklaan 10
The Netherlands
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

T +31 40 238 1000

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Opening Weekend: September 21–23, 2017

From September 21–23, the Van Abbemuseum, together with its partners in the European museum confederation L'Internationale, opens a new three-year programme that sets out to demodernise the museum and its collection. The opening is marked by three days of debate, workshops and celebration. Thought of in conjunction with the need to decolonise, the demodern approach aims to undo the modern museums' focus on exclusivity, autonomy and separation, seeking to facilitate substantial re-readings of the modern canon combined with new user-driven programming.

The new exhibitions and projects:

The Making of Modern Art
This exhibition—developed in cooperation with the Museum of American Art, Berlin—combines classic modernist works from the Van Abbe collection (Mondrian, Picasso, Sol LeWitt, Kandinsky, Leger, etc.), with copies, documents and archives, showing how the dominant narrative of 20th century modern art was established. In specially designed "atmosphere rooms," the exhibition critically reflects the role of museums, presenting the stories of remarkable museums, collectors and exhibitions and their contribution to the formation of the modern canon—a legacy that is still the basis for the Van Abbemuseum and most other western art collections. The result is an experimental exhibition that explores how modern art has been defined and disciplined as an intricate part of modern culture, and was shaped according to the dominant ideologies of progress, development, western dominance and its aggressive colonialism.

The Way Beyond Art
The exhibition The Way Beyond Art includes works by, amongst others, Chto Delat, Corneille, Dan Flavin, Nilbar Güres, Iris Kensmil, Anselm Kiefer, John Körmeling, Taus Makhacheva, Füsun Onür, Dan Peterman, Thomas Schütte and Franz Erhard Walther. The title draws on museum director Alexander Dorner's eponymous 1947 book outlining his radical vision on the museum as a social power plant. On the basis of three fundamental topics—Land, Home and Work—works are grouped and activated in a new sequence of "atmosphere rooms" for the present. The traditional model of the white cube is rejected and extended possibilities for experiencing art in space and in relation to body and mind are tested. 

The Werksalon is an experimental mediation floor dedicated to in-depth exchange with constituencies from the Eindhoven region. Through dialogues with different groups in the city concerned with social issues such as migration, ecology, social cohesion or gender issues, the museum aspires to expand and reform its social mission. The principle is to repurpose the museum and its collections for different needs and expectations, encouraging new relations between people and artworks to emerge over time. These relations will be made public through commentaries, inclusions and changes made to The Way Beyond Art in the forthcoming months and years. 

Opening Weekend September 21–23 
September 21: Deviant Researching
The culmination of the Deviant Practice research programme; researchers will present their findings, drawing on the collection, archives and constituencies of the museum.

September 22: Decolonising, Demodernising and Decentralising Collecting
A seminar organised by L’Internationale on collecting art in times of globalisation and mass migration.

September 23: Using the Museum
An all-day and night event for the official opening of the Collection Building with a speech by the mayor of Eindhoven, the launch of the Werksalon with our constituents, guided tours, a special edition of our Young Art Night and more.

Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Loes Janssen, Steven ten Thije.

Exhibition design
Can & Asli Altay (Future Anecdotes Istanbul).

Collaborators on the Opening Weekend
Nick Aikens, Mariska ter Horst.

L’Internationale museum confederation: Moderna Galerija Ljubljana; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; MACBA, Barcelona; M HKA, Antwerp; SALT Istanbul / Ankara. Partners: Grizedale Arts; Liverpool John Moores University; School of Arts – KASK, Hogeschool Ghent and Universität Hildesheim.

Supported by BankGiro Loterij, the Culture Programme of the European Union, Stichting Promotors Van Abbemuseum, VSB Fonds.

Van Abbemuseum
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