The Gemeentemuseum The Hague organizes every year the so-called Zomerexpo (Summer Exhibition), a kind of salon. The salon is open to amateurs and professionals. Here you see pictures of the works i liked.
Basically the works are presented anonymously to a panel of different artistic professionals, who have to decide within a few seconds which works of art will be allowed to compete for a place in the exhibition. Every year there is a theme; this year it is woest (wild).
This is the fifth edition, but as a tradition it isn’t very exciting. In spite of a critical jury the enormous number of different works cause an idea of mediocrity, although the presentation tries everything to avoid that.
Every single work is part of an artistic world of its own, torn away from its context. Some works may become less meaningful or even quite meaningless without the context of other works of the same artist.
If you want, as a prestigious institution, to offer to artists a rare chance to show their works, what do you want them to really gain from it? A bit of exposure amongst all these other artists who want the same?
A good work of art – let’s say “a masterpiece” – never exists on its own. Masterpieces can only be masterpieces compared to other works.
If these works are incomparable, you have a problem. And this is what happens in exhibitions like the ZomerExpo.
The only thing an artist can really gain from it, is the fact that he/she exhibited in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. That may sound prestigious, but if the rest of the artist’s cv is unimpressive, taking part in the annual ZomerExpo isn’t very helpful.
You may dream on as an artist that you showed your work in a museum, but that’s all. An amateur may be content with it, but most participants have a professional education in one way or another.
As a viewer you may want to discover something special you haven’t seen before. The chance that that will happen is quite small, as the works of most participants tend to be more or less eclectic.
There is nothing wrong with that. Some people may find it even comforting to see something they’ll recognise, but that doesn’t make for an exciting exhibition. And if you don’t want to see something exciting, why do you visit a museum?
The exhibited artworks are also for sale but have prices that don’t have any coherence at all, giving the idea that the museum is a kind of commercial art gallery, and a damn unprofessional one. Well, there are more hard nuts to crack, but let’s not forget there are some interesting works on show as well!
These are pictures of works that struck me. A work shown here may be part of an oeuvre of sorts or it may be the exponent of a great imaginative world, so exposure on this blog doesn’t say much about the real talents of the artists (although i must admit i do know works of some of these artists)
As you can see most works aren’t extremely “wild”, but there are a few works that are agreeably awkward.
This year there are also works in the museum’s sculpture garden, which is quite refreshing as these works have a much better chance to show their individual qualities.
The addition of the sculpture garden is clearly a positive development.
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)