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Today is #museumselfieday @cobramuseum Installing the exhibition Eugène Brands: From Studio to Universe pic.twitter.com/gRR9MTvrgb

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Lectures & symposia

Regularly lectures take place at the Cobra Museum.
They are announced here and via our social media channels.

Dick Gevers

The next lecture at the Cobra Museum will be of Anarchist and art historian Dick Gevers, author of Surrealism and Anarchism, it takes place within the context of the BAJeenkomst on April 23. A day dedicated to art and anarchism. More information will follow soon.


Opening Up / Making Current

On 29 October 2016, the Cobra Museum, together with the University of Amsterdam, organised the Opening Up / Making Current symposium, a critical look at the phenomenon of artists who respond to museum collections based on various practical examples. You can view and listen to the 5 speakers via the Cobra Museum’s vimeo channel.

About the symposium

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art, together with the University of Amsterdam, organised a symposium on the tendency of inviting contemporary artists to work with museum collections. For example, in the Dutch ‘Cobra Open Collection Programme’, several artists and art students have been invited in recent years to respond to the tangible and intangible legacy of the CoBrA group. Other museums, including Museum De Hallen, use this approach regularly. The symposium is intended for museum professionals, independent curators, art critics, art historians and artists to exchange critical views on the possibilities that such an approach provides and on the caveats that we can add.

Paul O’Neill, director of the Graduate Program, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (New York) is the keynote speaker. In his lecture ‘To Recollect, to Research, to Educate or to Revise: Artists Turning a Museum into an Exhibition’, he uses his recently started project ‘We are the Center… for Curatorial Studies’ as the basis for discussions about various aspects of the phenomenon of artists’ interventions in museum collections. While it may be a popular trend, it is not a new phenomenon. Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, professor of modern and contemporary art history at the University of Amsterdam, also explores further the history of this phenomenon (with a contribution by Sepp Eckenhaussen) with her contribution ‘Contemporary Artists’ Works in / on Museum Collections: Between Affirmation, Curation and Critique’.

Hilde de Bruijn, curator at the Cobra Museum, provides a brief explanation of the ‘Cobra Open Collection Programme’. Maria Pask and Frederique Bergholtz delve into their project ‘A Way of Making’ (Cobra Museum, 2014) and the Danish artist duo Bank & Rau provide insight into their creative process for the installation ‘Brutal Vitality – CoBrA in the hands of Bank & Rau’, which is currently on display at the Cobra Museum. Independent curator and author Anik Fournier presents a sharp analysis of the works created by these artists in the context of the ‘Cobra Open Collection Programme’. Poet, writer and artist Maria Barnas discusses her recent experiences with the Museum de Hallen, where she recently presented new work in relation to the collection. She also speaks about ‘The Reader’, her intervention in the (book) collection of the Rijksakademie.

There is plenty of time for a Q&A session with the artists and participants. Christiane Berndes (head of collections at the Van Abbemuseum) and Anke Bangma (curator of photography and contemporary art at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen) also serve as critical respondents at the end of the day. The day concludes with a drink and performance in Bank & Rau’s installation.

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