April / May
It was to be expected: given our country's dire political climate, foreign artists are leaving the Netherlands. In particular, young artists and designers who arrived some years ago, attracted by highly respected post-academic institutes and an amenable climate for starting artists, are packing their bags. They are moving to countries where respect for culture is still intact and cultural budgets are not being disproportionately slashed. The Netherlands are facing a brain drain in the arts, with all of the conceivable consequences for art from young artists in the years to come.
Many of those who are leaving are choosing Berlin as their new domicile. Brussels also seems strikingly popular. The European capital is a global city on the rise, and this certainly includes arts and culture. Major institutes are opening intriguing exhibitions, one right after the other, and there are increasing numbers of interesting smaller initiatives, along with the well-known major galleries and important collectors.
In all of Belgium, but notably in Flanders, art is experiencing a spurt of growth. Just a couple of decades ago, it was all a rather meagre spectacle, with Jan Hoet as the lone brave warrior in an unruly cultural environment. For several years now, however, it is bursting with élan. In this issue, we take a close look at the success of our southern neighbours. We try to understand what is at play there, convinced that there is something we can learn from it.
This issue not only pauses to look at Belgium. New York is also a central focus, with the Whitney Biennial and The Ungovernables at the New Museum, both remarkably political in nature. Rebellion is one of the underlying themes of this issue. Around the world, artists are in revolt. They no longer want to comply with established norms, whether these be social, economic or cultural. They are indeed becoming ‘ungovernable’. Some artists are even rebelling against the dictates of their own oeuvres, as the ‘late work’ section reveals.
Out for Confrontation
Artur ?mijewski and Joanna Warsza on the 7th Berlin Biennale
11/03/13 Johannes Wendland
Art as a means of shaping reality. It looks like the seventh edition of the Berlin Biennale will turn out to be the most activist of them all. Several times already during the run-up to the exhibition, the Polish curator and artist Artur ?mijewski and his co-curator Joanna Warsza have stirred up a ruckus. How is this going to end?
Maybe the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or it may be just a classic Dutch glamorizing of Belgium, but it does seem as though the visual arts scene to our south is catching up. Top artists, strong exhibitions, a flourishing art market and curators active around the globe: art in Belgium is blossoming as never before. How has this come about?
Featuring such prominent participants as The Red Krayola, George Kuchar and Charles Atlas, this year the Whitney Biennial is showing a remarkable number of artists who come from the turbulent days of the New York underground. Where is the underground to be found nowadays?
Late work forms a special, often underrated category in an artist’s oeuvre. Tom Morton look at a pair of striking sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro and wonders whether this lack of appreciation is actually deserved.