It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.
This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.
I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.
A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit www.ftn-books.com and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.
One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.