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A museum rarely publicizes its doubts about rights to works in its collection—but that’s what Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum is doing in an exhibition that opens Friday.

“The Stedelijk Museum in the Second World War” recounts the daring ways in which the museum’s employees fought Nazi censors after Germany conquered the Netherlands in May 1940. But the show also features 16 works in the permanent collection by artists including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse that the museum says it might not rightfully own.

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Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, which specializes in modern and contemporary art and design, has received a major gift from the Swedish-born sculptor Claes Oldenburg and his late wife and long-time collaborator, Coosje van Bruggen. The couple met in 1976 while van Bruggen was working as a curator at the Stedelijk. Together, they created a swath of colorful, large-scale public sculptures, including "Flashlight" in Las Vegas, "Clothespin" in Philadelphia, "Spoonbridge and Cherry" in Minnesota, and "Shuttlecocks" in Kansas City.

Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s gift includes 175 works by 34 artists and spans a wide range of media -- from correspondence material and archival documents to installations, collages, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, books, and posters. van Bruggen served as a member of the curatorial staff at the Stedelijk from 1967 to 1971, a breakthrough period for conceptual and minimalist art.

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Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:48

The Stedelijk Museum Names New Chief Curator

Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum has appointed Bart van der Heide as its new chief curator. He takes up his new post February 1, replacing Nicole Delissen.

It's a bit of a homecoming, as van der Heide was once assistant curator at the museum. He later went on to serve as curator at Cubitt Gallery in London and at Witte de With in Rotterdam. Most recently, he was director of the Kunstverein Munich. Among the artists featured in his past shows are Trisha Baga, Bernadette Corporation, Keren Cytter, Harun Farocki, Ian Kiaer, Tobias Madison, Richard Tuttle, Tris Vonna-Michell, Rebecca Warren, Cathy Wilkes, and Haegue Yang.

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With over 100 works generously loaned from 30 collections, the Stedelijk Museum presents "The Oasis of Matisse" next spring. For the first time in over sixty years, the work of the French master will go on view in the Netherlands. Never before have so many of his works been on show in this country.

The Stedelijk has conceived a unique exhibition concept for this survey: the permanent collection on the museum’s ground floor will be enriched with a selection of Henri Matisse’s (1868-1854) classic pieces, creating surprising combinations with the work of his contemporaries, teachers, and followers. In this way, both the work of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century as well as other artists can be seen in a new light, and visitors will be able to encounter Matisse’s art at every stage of his artistic development.

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Most of the large museums in the Netherlands had more visitors this year than last year. The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam especially had many visitors, 2.5 million and 1.6 million respectively. This is according to a survey done by the ANP.

Five museums had a record year: the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Spoorwegmuseum (Railway museum) in Utrecht and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) in Leiden.

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013 16:57

Stedelijk Museum Enjoys Record Year

2013 has been a record year for Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, which hopes to greet its one millionth visitor in the New Year. The institution welcomed 700,000 patrons in 2013 -- the highest attendance rate since the Stedelijk opened in 1895.

The Stedelijk recently underwent a complete renovation to its historic building and reopened to the public on September 23, 2013. The overhaul included an expansion so that the museum could exhibit more of its remarkable modern and contemporary art collection.

The Stedelijk will kick off 2014 with the first large-scale design exhibition since the museum’s reopening. ‘Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk’ will debut on February 1. Other exhibitions in the New Year will include a show featuring the work of jewelry designers Gijs Bakker and Emmy van Leersum (opening on February 22), a selection of works by Canadian photographer Jeff Wall (beginning on March 1st), new work by Paulien Oltheten & Anouk Kruithof (opening on March 14), a selection from the collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders (opening on July 19), and a survey of the work of painter Marlene Dumas (starting on September 5).

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After resigning from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MOCA) board last summer, John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha have agreed to join the institution’s director search committee. The 14-member team will help find a replacement for former director, Jeffrey Deitch, who resigned in July 2013. In addition to the four prominent artists, the committee includes several members of MOCA’s board including Joel Wachs, who helms the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Baldessari told the Los Angeles Times “pertinent qualities [for a new director] would be fundraising, experience in how a museum operates, and most importantly, past curatorial skill. It would be a real opportunity to whoever is appointed, because there’s nowhere to go but up.” Deitch, who resigned with nearly two years left on his five-year contract, was plagued by criticism during his time at MOCA. While the museum was in poor financial standing when he came on board, the MOCA continued to fall into financial despair during Deitch’s time as director. The museum recently started to regain its footing after fundraising efforts by board members garnered over $75 million in donations.

There have been a number of rumors suggesting that Ann Goldstein, MOCA’s former senior curator who recently stepped down as the director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, has been discussed as a potential candidate.

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On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Ann Goldstein announced that she will resign as director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Goldstein has helmed the museum since 2010 and oversaw its recent expansion, which reached completion in September 2012. Goldstein will leave her post on December 1, 2013.

After announcing her sudden departure, Goldstein released the following statement:

 It has been a privilege to serve this great institution, to oversee its re-opening after nearly nine years of closure, and to live and work in a community that deeply values the vital presence of the Stedelijk Museum in people’s lives. While assuming responsibility for a closed museum presented tremendous challenges, it also offered unexpected opportunities. With The Temporary Stedelijk (2010–12) we were able to reconsider what a museum could be for its publics—open or closed—offering exhibitions, public programs and education initiatives in our unfinished historic museum building and throughout Amsterdam prior to our reopening. Now, nearly a year since our reopening, we have achieved our long-anticipated goal of a fully functioning, international museum with an exhibition schedule that prepared for the next two years. I announced my resignation to the Supervisory Board on June 26, 2013, confident that my work is done and the museum is firmly poised for a new artistic director to lead it into the future. I feel a strong affection for this remarkable institution’s exceptionally devoted staff, board, and community, and have often said that the esteemed and inspiring history of the Stedelijk is part of my DNA as a museum professional. It will surely always remain close to my heart.

During her time at the Stedelijk, Goldstein helped acquire over 1,500 works for the museum’s permanent collection; over 600 of those pieces were donated. There has been some speculation that Goldstein will return to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art where she served as the senior curator from 1983 to 2009.

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