News — 27 Oct 2008

In the Fencing the Museum project, seven young artists are taking turns to transform the fences surrounding the Stedelijk Museum construction site every two months. They each plaster the 108 metres of hoarding with work in the form of A0-size posters, taking the museum's past publicity materials as their starting point. The project is an exploration of the dividing line between art and publicity, and more specifically of the use of artistic images and the role of the artist in the way the museum projects itself to the outside world. The project is being organised in collaboration with the Gerrit Rietveld Academy's Research Group on Art and Public Space. 

The third artist in the series is Joris Lindhout (b. Utrecht, 1981). His contribution will consist of a single image based on Roy Lichtenstein’s 1966 work Explosion. Lindhout supplements this with his own portrait of the artist. After pasting up the posters, Lindhout will fill the empty speech bubbles with over a hundred different handwritten texts. 

For centuries, artists held a monopoly on the creation of visual images. The introduction of photography marked the start of a process of democratisation. Artists gradually lost their monopoly – these days, anyone can produce visual images and make money doing so. In the 1960s, Lichtenstein re-appropriated images from the commercial world and turned them into art again. At the same time, makers of commercial images saw a way of getting their own back: they took abstract or other images from works of art and used them in commercial contexts – in advertisements, reproductions (like those on sale at IKEA), or decorated mugs. Angry copyright disputes resulted and by the 1980s postmodern philosopher Arthur C. Danto was talking about the end of art history. At a time when artists are urgently seeking new ways to produce visual images, Lindhout shows Roy Lichtenstein pondering the decisions he took and the effects they are still having on art.

Every two months the fencing will be decorated by a different artist. The other six artists involved are: Karin Hasselberg, David Jablonowski, Mark Kent, Frank Koolen, Juha Laatikainen and Vincent Vulsma. Fencing the Museum continues until the end of September 2009.

The fencing around the Stedelijk Museum runs from Paulus Potterstraat to the construction cabin in Van Baerlestraat. (The panels to the right of the construction cabin in Van Baerlestraat are not part of this project; they were commissioned by the Midreth construction company and installed earlier.)

The project is sponsored by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and the Oud Zuid municipal district.