News — 19 May 2016

Amsterdam, 19 May 2016
The Stedelijk has invited former director Rudi Fuchs to curate an exhibition in his unique, distinctive style, to look back on his long career as museum director and exhibition maker. Fuchs was successively director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and made a significant contribution to the development of the Dutch state art collection and perceptions of art in the Netherlands. Excitement encompasses iconic works of art acquired by Fuchs, by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Jan Dibbets, Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Piet Mondriaan, Bruce Nauman and A.R. Penck. 

From the outset of his career, Rudi Fuchs took a singular approach to exhibition-making, presenting unexpected combinations of work by different artists and styles. Similarities between contemporaries proved a fertile field of exploration, inspiring him to present Daniel Buren alongside Georg Baselitz and Gilbert & George opposite Bruce Nauman. Fuchs installed galleries not on the basis of art historical information; his choices were based on looking.

In the words of Rudi Fuchs: “Hanging art works in close proximity throws their singularity into sharp relief. Look at the 1970s – there were so many radically different kinds of art that were, or seemed to be, at odds with each other. But if you looked at the works with an open mind, each excelled in its own way. At least, that’s how it struck me. You could be biased, as many people were, or accept the plurality as abundance – and take that view of art. As early as 1980, Markus Lüpertz and Richard Long told me: it’s about the quality of our generation. There’s no such thing as ‘right’. There is taste, and preference – but that’s something else altogether. In today’s world, no one is automatically the first. In art, no one is the best. That’s what this exhibition is about – from my perspective, and with the works that are available.”

At the heart of the exhibition is the excitement of discovering and getting to know works of art. Fuchs shares with visitors his way of seeing, a vision that’s all about taking time, about patience and precision. He considers the art work an intense expression of how an artist sees what he or she is making – every aspect of the work is, after all, a consequence of the decisions taken by the artist during the making process. Fuchs himself looks at the end result with the same intensity, studying the materials, technique, colors and format, the composition and the tradition within which an artist works. Excitement invites viewers to discover the similarities, differences, richness of color, composition, material and ideas at their own pace.

Rudi Fuchs wrote an essay about the exhibition and what prompted him to choose the title, which you can read here.

The exhibition design and graphics are created by Walter Nikkels, who installed numerous exhibitions with Rudi Fuchs in the three museums of which he was director, as well as Documenta 7 in 1982. To date, Rudi Fuchs is the only Dutch art professional to have been invited to curate this prestigious art event.

On the occasion of the exhibition, Konig Buchhandlung will publish a collection of essays written by Rudi Fuchs over recent years for De Groene Amsterdammer.

Press preview
You are warmly invited to the press preview of the exhibition on Wednesday 25 May. Rudi Fuchs will attend the event and, after the viewing, be available for interviews.

09.30          entrance via the main entrance
10.00          opening speech Beatrix Ruf, director, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
             Introduction by Bart Rutten, Head of Collections
10.15          preview begins
12.00          end.

Stedelijk Friday Night with Rudi Fuchs and Bart Rutten
Friday 27 May, 19.30 – 20.30
Rudi Fuchs and Bart Rutten (Head of Collections, Stedelijk Museum) in conversation. Topics include: What choices lay at the heart of Rudi Fuchs’ collection strategy? How did these choices lead to the creation of different cores in the collection? Did these choices differ from former approaches to collection? And: Are museums now pursuing a different collection policy?

19.30 - 19.45           opening by Margriet Schavemaker
19.45 - 20.15           Rudi Fuchs and Bart Rutten in conversation
20.15 - 20.30           questions from the floor.

Moderator: Margriet Schavemaker
You are cordially invited to attend; registration is not required. 

About Rudi Fuchs

Rudi Fuchs (1942, Eindhoven) studied art history in Leiden, where he worked and lectured until 1975. He was successively director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (1975-1987), the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (1987-1993) and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (1993-2003). Parallel to his directorates, Fuchs was also active internationally. In 1983 he was artistic leader of Documenta 7, Kassel and from 1984 to 1990 the first artistic director of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Castello di Rivoli, Turin. Throughout his career, Fuchs wrote numerous publications on contemporary artists; throughout the last eight years, he published weekly essays in De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2006, Fuchs wrote the publication Rembrandt Spreekt.