News — 19 Mar 2012

Blues Before Sunrise, the highly acclaimed project by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen presented by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, has been closed, 6 days before its scheduled conclusion on Sunday, March 25. Yesterday, the Stadsdeel Zuid of the City of Amsterdam informed the museum that it had revoked the permit for the artwork, effective immediately, citing traffic safety reasons. Planned for a period of two-and-a-half weeks, all 275 streetlamps in the park emitted blue light instead of white, vividly transforming the nighttime experience of Amsterdam’s most well known urban “green space.”

To realize this ambitious intervention in the Vondelpark, the museum discussed its plans in detail with the Stadsdeel Zuid, which granted approval, and it collaborated closely with several city agencies in the artwork’s preparation. Throughout the process, public safety was of paramount concern. The lights with blue filters were tested on various occasions, and those chosen for use were deemed by the city to offer sufficient illumination for people using the park during the evening hours. In addition, the museum paid to increase security during the evening and early morning hours.

The museum deeply regrets that the permit was revoked nearly two weeks into the project and just days before its scheduled conclusion.