The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and MOTI in Breda are jointly acquiring 17 top digital works by contemporary artists in the Netherlands and abroad who are among the pioneers of digital art. This collaboration is spurred by MOTI’s change of course: it is due to reopen in the course of 2017 as the Stedelijk Museum Breda, where the legacy of the city of Breda will have a more prominent role.
In the short space of time that it existed, and under the management of Mieke Gerritzen, MOTI – founded in 2011 – has managed to build a remarkable collection of digital works by leading artists. The joint acquisition with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam means investing in a national collection in the field of digital art. This merging of curatorial vision transcends local museum policy. The course taken by MOTI in the collection of digital art coheres perfectly with the policy of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which is always geared to new forms of art with a particular interest in the cross-over between graphic design and visual arts.
MOTI initiated the collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, as a cultural institution with a strong reputation and immense public reach. In a time where museums are increasingly expected to show artistic distinctiveness and to operate as a cultural enterprise, collaboration at the national level is an obvious step. With this joint acquisition, the two museums seek to enhance the visibility of digital art for the general public, and to give digital art a permanent place in the national art collection, Collectie Nederland.
In compiling this joint acquisition, the two curators Ward Janssen (MOTI) and Bart Rutten (Stedelijk Museum) specifically sought to acquire art works that examine the changing role of visual idiom in the internet era, as an art work on the internet or as a critical response to the computerisation of society.
The acquisition consists of works by the leading contemporary Dutch artists Constant Dullaart, Rafaël Rozendaal, Floris Kaayk, Rosa Menkman, Geoffrey Lillemon and Jan Robert Leegte; pioneers of digital art in the past decades JODI, Vuk Ćosić, Martine Neddam (under the pseudonym of Mouchette), and Olia Lialina; and the international artists Jon Rafman, Petra Cortright, Jonas Lund, UV Production House and Michael Mandiberg.
On the side of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the acquisition is supported by the Tijl Aankoop Fonds and a private benefactor, with the Bankgiro Lotterij supporting MOTI.
To preserve and present the digital art works, the two museums will jointly develop a policy to manage the digital material in the best possible way for the future. This is a challenge faced by museums around the world. The museums will work with organisations including LIMA, an international platform for media art and specialised in the preservation of digital art works.
MOTI’s digital collection already contains works by artists like Moniker, Rafael Rozendaal, John Maeda, Pinar & Viola, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Studio Smack, JODI, Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, Rosa Menkman and Robert Jan Leegte. In the past year, MOTI Museum presented the exhibitions Born Digital, Planet Hype, New Delights and Welcome to the Imagesphere, examining developments in media culture and digital art.
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was quick to devote attention to digital art, with exhibitions such as Next Level – Art, Games and Reality (2006) and Deep Screen – Art in Digital Culture (2008), and its collection contains digital works by artists such as Brody Condon, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Jochem van der Spek and Jon Rafman. Recently, the Stedelijk has presented solo exhibitions by artists addressing the digital society such as Ed Atkins, Avery Singer, Jon Rafman and, at present, Jordan Wolfson. In terms of quantity, this is largest joint acquisition by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, after similar ventures with Centraal Museum Utrecht, Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Museum De Hallen in Haarlem, and Museum Arnhem.