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News — 11 Apr 2021

Vincent van Velsen joins Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in May 2021 as Curator of Photography.

As Curator of Photography, Vincent van Velsen (Rotterdam, 1987) will focus on one of the Stedelijk Museum’s core collections, which consists of almost 12.000 works. In recent years, Van Velsen has garnered an impressive track record as an insightful curator and writer. He approaches the cultural field with a critical position that will now also be used to shape the new direction of the Stedelijk. When he takes up his post in May, he will be involved in the collection and research policy in addition to developing photography exhibitions. 

Van Velsen has curated exhibitions at numerous venues throughout the Netherlands, including the solo show of Sammy Baloji: A Blueprint for Toads and Snakes (Framer Framed, 2018) and the group shows Even if it's Jazz or the Quiet Storm (in collaboration with Dan Walwin, Nest, 2018) and No You Won't Be Naming No Buildings After Me (TENT, 2019). He was associated with the quadrennial sonsbeek2020→2024. He is currently developing an exhibition at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen and, together with Simon(e) van Saarloos, is working on Chapter 4OUR: Abundance at Het HEM. Van Velsen’s curatorial interests include the political significance of presence. He has a critical as much as engaged practice that questions neutrality in relation to the construction of histories and its effects on contemporary structures.

Van Velsen is a curator, writer and advisor. He frequently writes for different artists, publications, presentation institutions and museums, and holds the position of contributing editor at Dutch contemporary art magazine Metropolis M. He regularly sits on juries and committees, amongst which the Amsterdam Prize for Art in 2016 and 2017, and from 2017 to 2021 he was a chair for different committees at the Mondrian Fund. He was a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie and guest resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. Van Velsen is currently part of the Amsterdam Municipal Curatorial Advisory Committee (Stadscuratorium) and a member of the board at De Appel.

Photo: Yeray Sabandar
Photo: Yeray Sabandar

Rein Wolfs, director Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: “The Stedelijk is one of the first museums in the world to collect photography. With lightning speed, the medium has evolved into a vast array of forms and practices. However, the Stedelijk takes a very interdisciplinary approach to photography, regarding it as a medium that is for example used to address socially critical themes. Vincent van Velsen is able to juxtapose photography with other media and has a fresh and new perspective of the social relevance of art as a whole and photography in particular. We are excited that he has chosen to evolve his vision in the Stedelijk.” 

Vincent van Velsen: “Today, photography is about the meaning of images and how they function in the world. Beyond the classical ideas of photography, I want to emphasize the agency of images, and in doing so focus on the process of making and the maker as much as the context of exhibiting and the images' effect and affect. At the same time, I want to look into the practices of artists who use photography as a starting point and end up with utilizing other media, and vice versa. Through collaborations I want to do research into the collection taking into account manifold perspectives to produce novel readings and add a multiplicity of focal points to the existing knowledge. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to do this within an institution with such a rich history as the Stedelijk and be involved with the museums transformational process.”