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Rein Wolfs named director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Rein Wolfs, director Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen.

Rein Wolfs named director

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
The Netherlands


On December 1, 2019, Rein Wolfs was appointed the next director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. With his arrival the Stedelijk enters a new phase, one in which it works toward forming a multivocal artistic institute that also engages critically in the collective debate and is involved in both the city and society. The Stedelijk seeks to assume a new position in the changing art world as a museum that contributes to shaping opinion, and tells stories from original or different perspectives.

Rein Wolfs: “The Stedelijk has set its sights on a bold, innovative course that brings forward a plurality of voices. The most important and largest museum for modern and contemporary art and design in the Netherlands will build unexpected connections between modern and contemporary, between art and design, between north and south, east and west. The museum looks back on a rich history as an early pioneer of contemporary art, and looks ahead by expanding these stories with other narratives and examining their function in today's society.

I look forward to building upon the unique history and collection of the Stedelijk, working closely with the staff, and with curators-at-large. The Stedelijk is a public museum that strives for an inclusive program that is socially engaged and thought-provoking. The Stedelijk belongs to everyone and is a critical part of the social debate. In Amsterdam and other international cities, the question of to whom the city belongs is pivotal, and also touches on the role of the museum. We shall address this and other relevant issues with exhibitions, performances, educational programs, and the Public Program, developed in close collaboration with others.”

125 Years of the Stedelijk Museum – Critical Reflection
In 2020 the Stedelijk celebrates its 125th anniversary with a program that includes a retrospective of Nam June Paik and exhibitions by Charlotte Prodger and Ulay. These exhibits reflect the significance of the museum as one of the earliest and most influential advocates of time-based media. The exhibit After Institutions addresses the future role of the museum, expanding on the legacy of the first generation of Institutional Critique artists with the work of contemporary makers whose practice digs deeper into who has access to the museum and the role the museum should play in society. Opening in autumn 2020, the exhibition Surinamese School spotlights historical artistic advances in the visual art of Suriname. Also forthcoming is research into the collection, a multivocal rethinking of the museum’s holdings that will be articulated in acquisitions and presentations.

First acquisitions
The first artworks purchased by Rein Wolfs were announced recently. Among them are works by Anna Uddenberg, Etel Adnan, Remy Jungerman, Walid Raad, and Patricia Kaersenhout. The creative output of these artists brings new narratives and voices into the Stedelijk collection, with stories varying from a shared colonial past to the representation of the female perspective.

Brief biography of Rein Wolfs
Rein Wolfs joined the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn as director in 2013. He was previously artistic director of Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, head of exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and director of the Migros Museum for Contemporary Art in Zurich. In 2003 he curated the Dutch pavilion at the  Venice Biennale.