Bumper Year for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Photo: Maarten Laupman Photo: Fred Ernst Hotel room Carsten Holler. Photo: Atillio Maranzano536

Press release

Bumper Year for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
30 December 2010: Annual Report in brief

For Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen an extraordinarily successful year has drawn to a close. More than 320,000 people visited the 30-plus presentations that the museum organised in its own building and on location. The museum made exceptional acquisitions and works of art from the collection could be admired all over the world. The museum brought art and design into many living rooms via Boijmans TV and online platforms.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen welcomed more than 320,000 visitors in 2010, to be inspired and moved by everything from the tailor-made hotel bed by Carsten Höller to modern masterpieces by Kees van Dongen and contemporary design by Hella Jongerius. Visitors were treated to dozens of informative activities in the museum and online. Special museum projects such as the exhibition about the master forger Han van Meegeren and the restoration of a painting by Dalí truly captured people’s imaginations.

On location
The activities of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2010 were not restricted to the museum’s own four walls. Four on-site storage depots were renovated in the spring, which was achieved by temporarily housing all the works of art and artefacts in the Kunsthal, where the exhibition ‘Inside Out’ attracted 36,000 visitors. The museum entered into a unique collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam Authority, initiating the ‘Infernopolis’ exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout at the Submarine Wharf. No fewer than 20,315 visitors ventured out into Rotterdam’s port and the media coverage was unanimously enthusiastic. De Volkskrant newspaper called the exhibition ‘the summer’s undisputed art hit’. Research by the museum shows that more than 50% of the visitors came to Rotterdam specifically for an exhibition and 150,000 of these then visited other locations in the city, such as restaurants and shops.

Virtual museum
In 2010, in association with RTV Rijnmond, Popov Film and Ro Theater, the museum produced its own art programme, Boijmans TV, a world first. It is an art programme with a twist: sometimes dramatic, sometimes comical and always absurd. Broadcast on TV Rijnmond, the 13-part series proved to be a great success, with about 140,000 viewers per episode. The online video channel arttube.boijmans.nl attracts about 17,000 visitors per month, who on average spend more than six minutes per visit viewing the 87 videos about art and design. It was partly thanks to these new initiatives that the museum scooped the BankGiro Loterij Museum Prize 2010.

Young visitors
In 2010 the museum once again succeeded in sparking the interest of large numbers of young visitors for the art on offer. More than 50,000 youngsters visited Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, either independently or on school trips. The Turing Bus, which transports Rotterdam schoolchildren to and from the museum for free, was an important factor in the educational programme’s success. The museum was also present at Jeugdvakantieland, an event presenting sports and recreational activities for children aged from 4 to 12 years, where the museum had the pleasure of welcoming many new young members to the Boijmans Club.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has also been active outside the Netherlands. The museum organised a retrospective about Charley Toorop at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, which drew 26,500 art lovers. It was the first time that a large selection of work by this nonconformist artist has been shown outside the Netherlands. In the summer the museum sent ‘Het Is Me Wat’ (‘And Now What’s Up’), a large floating stone by Wim T. Schippers, to the World Expo in Shanghai. The museum has loaned 234 works of art to museums all over the world over the last year. For example, six works by Salvador Dalí from the museum collection were flown in specially by the Palazzo Reale in Milan for the first Dalí retrospective in Italy.

In 2010 the museum undertook extensive research into works of art in the collection and several major restorations were carried out. The painting Landscape with a Girl Skipping by Salvador Dalí was restored in full public view, with visitors being able to follow the various phases of the restoration process at close quarters over the summer. The results of research into Max Beckmann’s Portrait of the Lütjens Family were published in a Boijmans Studies cahier. In 2010 the painting Tobias and his Wife was ascribed to Rembrandt van Rijn by the Rembrandt Research Project. One of the museum’s curators still has reservations about this attribution, so research into the painting will continue over the coming years.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen acquired more than 300 works of art over the last year. In early 2010, thanks to contributions from four foundations, the museum was able to acquire two highly exceptional series of coloured woodcuts dating from circa 1530 from a private collection. The series with depictions of lansquenets and Turkish soldiers form a valuable addition to the museum’s print collection, which is among the most important in the world. The museum also purchased Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, a room of mirrors by Yayoi Kusama (Matsumoto, 1929) that swallows up those who enter and makes them participants in the work. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen also acquired the double installation, Couple in the Distance (2010), by Marijke van Warmerdam. This film installation is an important addition to the collection and will be part of the major retrospective that the museum is organising in 2011.

The museum had to contend with flooding on several occasions in 2010. As the owner of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s building and collection, in 2010 the City of Rotterdam acknowledged the risks and has decided to do something about the awkward depot situation in the short term. In January 2011 the City Executive will consider a proposal for a new depot. This may involve the construction or rental of a depot elsewhere in the city, but there is also the option of a collection building in the museum’s immediate vicinity.

Looking ahead

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen kicks off spring 2011 with solo exhibitions by Gabriel Lester and Nathalie Djurberg. Alongside a robust contemporary art programme, the museum is staging ‘Beauty in Science’, an exhibition in which the aesthetics of science take centre stage. From April the museum is teaming up with the Rembrandt Association to show its impressive collection of classic painting, old and modern, in ‘The Collection Enriched’ presentation. For a period of two years the collection will be complemented by masterpieces from the Netherlands and abroad, presenting the best of the art of painting from the Middle Ages through to the 20th century.
In the summer the museum is staging an exhibition by the modern-day surrealist George Condo. The museum is also planning further activities in the Port of Rotterdam. In summer 2011 the Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, famous for their Prada shop in the desert, will be creating a sense-boggling experience at the Submarine Wharf. The autumn sees the staging of a retrospective of work by Marijke van Warmerdam and an extensive design programme, with a new edition of the Rotterdam Design Prize and an exhibition about sustainability entitled ‘New Energy’.

The museum hopes to be able to continue developing Boijmans TV and arttube.boijmans.nl in 2011. Next year also sees the launch of the Art Rocks project, for which Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen received €400,000 from the BankGiro Loterij in 2010. The museum is commissioning 13 Dutch bands and performers to compose a song inspired by one of the top works from Rotterdam’s City Collection. Art inspires musicians and the resulting music will introduce new audiences to art.