Crossing Borders: connecting contemporary art in Benelux and Rhineland

It's a well know fact: the Benelux and Rhineland regions are full of mid-scale cities with an incredible richness and density in medium scale museums, kunsthallen, art spaces, art schools and residencies. Cities like Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Liège, Luxemburg, Aachen, Cologne and Düsseldorf are all located at one or two hour drive from each other.

Art Cologne invited a group of curators and museum directors from Belgium for a networking visit to Cologne and Düsseldorf on 9 and 10 april 2014. On this occasion, BAM co-organised an informal networking event during which the curators from institutions in the region met to explore opportunities for exchange and collaboration. Art Cologne also organised a debate on the theme 'Grenzgänger. Die Kunstszenen im Länderdreieck Deutschland, Belgien und den Niederlanden' with Renate Goldmann (Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren), Brigitte Franzen (Ludwig Forum, Aachen), Martin Germann (S.M.A.K., Gent), Ben Kaufmann (NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein) and Rein Wolfs (Bundeskunsthalle Bonn). During the debate, the curators all expressed their wish for more contact and collaboration on content-based projects reaching beyond a mere regional exchange.

This project could be a prelude to the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, with Flanders and The Netherlands as hosts, or to 2017 when Documenta, Skulptur Projecte Münster and the Venice Biennial will coincide. This institutional density also involves Art Brussels, a fair which is organised in the same month as Art Cologne. This year, Art Brussels and BAM will be inviting several curators from the Rhineland region, as part of the Art Brussels Curator's programme taking place from 24 until 27 April.

Related publications and articles:

BAM published a 4 pages-insert in the Belgian art magazine H ART which will be distributed during Art Brussels and which gives an idea of the (old and new) collaboration between Rhineland Benelux. With quotes from Bart De Baere (M HKA), Dr Markus Heinzelmann (Morsbroich Museum, Leverkusen), Luk Lambrecht (CC Strombeek), Christian Nagel (galerie Christian Nagel), Dirk Snauwaert (Wiels) and Christina Végh (Bonner Kunstverein). In an exclusive interview, Anny De Decker (from the legendary gallery Wide White Space) and curator Martin Germann (S.M.A.K.) discuss the contacts and exchanges between Antwerpen, Düsseldorf and Amsterdam in the '60 and '70 and how they evolved over the years.

Click here to read the articles.

Frieze also devoted its March-April edition to this theme. Frieze journalist Noemi Smolik organised a talk about 'institutional network' to discuss the (dis)advantages of the institutional density in both regions with Christopher Williams, Dirk Snauwaert, Rein Wolfs, Stefanie Kreuzer, Brigitte Franzen, Andreas Reihse and Valentijn Byvanck.

Click here for the article (only for Frieze registered members):

The Director of Art Cologne, Daniel Hug, wishes to better connections between the art fair and its regional surroundings ("Art-Cologne-Direktor Daniel Hug will die Kölner Kunstmesse noch stärker im weiteren Umland verankern").

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