The project Fencing the Museum involves seven young artists creating a completely different appearance every two months for the fence surrounding the building site of the new Stedelijk Museum. They will cover the 108 metres of the fence with their work in the form of A0 posters, using the museum’s historical publicity material as a starting point.
In this project, the artists are investigating the boundaries between art and publicity, particularly the use of artistic images and the role of the artist in the representation of the museum. The project is a collaboration with the research group in Art and the Public Space at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
The second artist in the series is Juha Laatikainen (Finland). In his work Cryptozoology he is in search of animals, which fall outside of contemporary zoological catalogues. Either living examples that were believed to be extinct but are taxonomically identified through fossil records or animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings.
The work of Bruce Nauman is an inspiration to Laatikainen. In fact, he considers the artist as a possible extinct, legendary or mythological appearance: “I know he has been there, there is certain evidence of it left. There is even a work of Bruce Nauman in the collection of Stedelijk Museum, entitled My Name As Though It Were Written on the Surface of the Moon. This lead to a non-mystic process of making something visible from his – and my own – passion of understanding the problem of language.”
Fencing the Museum extends further than the temporary beautification of a building site – this is about allowing art to be present in the public space, in a place that, in over a year’s time, will once again be an important centre for modern and contemporary art. So, there was good reason for inviting young and promising artists to test their artistic vision on the wall around the Stedelijk, which can, in a way, be seen as the dividing line between the museum and the public space.
Every two months, the fence will be covered by a different artist. The other artists are: Karin Hasselberg, Joris Lindhout, Vincent Vulsma, Frank Koolen, Mark Kent and David Jablonowski (whose work can now be seen in the exhibition Deep Screen – Art in Digital Culture at Stedelijk Museum CS). The project runs from July 2008 to September 2009. The fence at the Stedelijk Museum runs from Paulus Potterstraat to the site hut on Van Baerlestraat. (The panels to the right of the hut on Van Baerlestraat are not part of the project, but were previously installed for Midreth, the building contractor.)
This project was made possible by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and the Oud Zuid district of Amsterdam.