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Departure of director Sjarel Ex from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Sjarel Ex waved goodbye to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at an Open House in the Depot on Friday 30 September. His farewell included a kaleidoscopic programme of talks, interventions, performances, poetry and music.

Sjarel Ex (1957, Terwinselen) leaves after more than 18 years to pursue a new path. The crowning glory of his work is the publicly accessible Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, where the museum's collections are cared for, managed and displayed in a spectacular architectural icon. The Supervisory Board of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen agreed to his request to end his current contract with the Rotterdam museum, and his farewell was celebrated in style at the Depot on Friday 30th September.

The farewell ceremony was devised by visual artist Sarkis and included live performances by Anne Vegter and Mehmet Polat, Ton Zwerver, and Peter Somuah. Substantial sums of money towards restorations were also donated by funding bodies, colleagues and friends.

'I think back on my farewell with a big smile. It was, in a word, fantastic. My wife Lisa and I had surprise after surprise – gifts from Christiaan Braun and Han Nefkens, money from various funding bodies, and a beautifully orchestrated ceremony devised by Sarkis. Anne Vegter wrote poetry and performed with Paul McCarthy's Bunkhouse, and Ton Zwerver made the museum's artworks come alive in its windows. The showcases sparkled, and the musical accompaniment with bells and trumpets was magical,' said Sjarel Ex, departing director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

For over a decade and a half, Ex positioned the museum closer to artists and designers, deploying a range of initiatives including the exhibitions BrancusiMan Ray RossoGelatinMad About SurrealismBoijmans Ahoy  drive thru museum, and Submarine Wharf  XXXL Painting. He also oversaw acquisitions such as Portrait of the Family(1944) by Max Beckmann, the Crucifixion of Christ (c.1440-1450) drawing by Jan van Eyck, and Peinture-poème (Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille et moi) (1927) by Joan Miró. Ex looks back on his Rotterdam years with pleasure as he continues his career as an independent researcher and exhibition maker. We thank Sjarel for everything he's done for us; we'll miss him.

All images: Aad Hoogendoorn
All images: Aad Hoogendoorn