Everyday, Someday and Other Stories Collection 1950-1980
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
January 01, 2022 – December 01, 2025
The Stedelijk’s three-part collection presentation has been redesigned with a special focus on the theme. Part 2, Everyday, Someday and Other Stories, traces the evolution of art and design from the 1950s to the 1980s. Artists and designers show it was an era of new opportunities and progress, of mass culture, pop culture, and consumption, and of critiquing the established order. Featuring well-known and less familiar works from the collection, the presentation tells different stories from diverse perspectives and shines a new light on the Stedelijk collection.
Rein Wolfs, director of the Stedelijk Museum: “Our entire curatorial team is working hard to broaden the collection and explore it from a fresh, thematic approach. Guiding this process is the awareness that art history is ultimately a collection of many different histories and narratives. Artworks discovered in the depot and recent work we were able to acquire in this context, unlock new vantage points. And, just as history is in perpetual motion, our collection presentation will remain in flux, even when part three of our permanent display opens after the summer.”
EVERYDAY: ‘Everyday’ shows how art gradually draws closer to everyday life as artists begin to use mundane materials, actions, and events. Sculptor Jackie Winsor works with rope, Bruce Nauman turns simple actions into video work and stanley brouwn elevates something as simple as asking for directions to art. Others, like Claes Oldenburg, and Tetsumi Kudo, use ordinary objects. Robert Rauschenberg even works with waste materials. Artists also witness the impact of mass media on the perception and stereotyping, apparent in works by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Bloom, and Hans Eijkelboom.
SOMEDAY: ‘Someday’ captures the idealism of those decades: in Homo Ludens, Constant explores play as a central element in culture and society, and Ben d’Armagnac founds a commune that inspires Louwrien Wijers’s poetic word sculptures. Space travel is hugely influential; astronaut William Anders photographed the Earth, creating an emblem of our planet’s vulnerability, and gave flight to a host of Space Age-inspired designs conceived by such creative minds as Václav Cigler, JVC, Wim Crouwel, and Peter Ghyczy. Pursuing ideals also meant lashing out at established norms, as shown by the immense wall displaying political protest posters. William Irwin’s photos document Civil Rights marches and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. Corita Kent, a Catholic nun, and pop art artist addresses the same themes in her easy-to-distribute silkscreen prints. Günter Beltzig designs the Floris, a chair to take to sit-in demonstrations. Photos by Maurice Boyer and Pieter Boersma chronicle the squatters’ riots in Amsterdam, while Cor Jaring captures John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the Amsterdam Hilton, promoting world peace in their protest bed-in. The Wild Plakken buttons and Provo magazines epitomize this protest generation’s democratic activism.
The second wave of feminism is also hugely impactful. The presentation dedicates a gallery to four female artists whose work explores facets of feminism: Lynda Benglis, Corita Kent, and Lee Bontecou from the US, and Magdalena Abakanowicz from communist Poland. Opting to create fiber art, and employ techniques such as screen printing and video, their work was deemed ‘applied art’ and ‘women’s work’, and considered inferior to traditional disciplines like painting and sculpture.
OTHER STORIES: Displaying familiar artworks in an unfamiliar context, ‘Other Stories’ tells narratives that have yet to be explored. Visitors can finally enjoy one of our biggest public favorites, the rapturous La perruque et la sirène, by the French artist Matisse. The work enters into conversation with the abstract flower forms of the American Ellsworth Kelly, and with paintings by the Haitian artists Robert Saint-Brice and Gesner Abelard, whose work also offers a semi-figurative celebration of nature.
We look at Fluxus from the perspective of the German artist Mary Bauermeister, whose studio in Cologne around 1960 was an important meeting place for avant-garde artists such as Nam June Paik, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christo, and Wolf Vostell. She had her first exhibition at the Stedelijk in 1962 and was internationally renowned – a history that is currently enjoying a revival. The display also sheds new light on ‘minimal gestures’. Work by Carl Andre, Robert Ryman, Maria van Elk, Jan Dibbets, and Jo Baer is paired with that of artists Ganesh Haloi and Chavalit Soemprungsuk from India and Thailand, respectively, whose paintings are meticulous explorations of minimalist art.
Other stories enter the arts through the diaspora, with Surinamese artists such as Ron Flu, Armand Baag, Erwin de Vries, Ed Hart, Soeki Irodikromo, and Quintus Jan Telting, and voices from the Jewish diaspora with the work of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. Travel helped to change the course of art, introducing artists to new materials, techniques, and stories. During her travels, Batia Suter collects books, integrating them intuitively into a vast installation 12.5 meters long. Ettore Sottsass’ visits to India shape his designs; Sheila Hicks takes inspiration from Latin American textiles, and Sarah Zapata blends Peruvian weaving techniques with traditional American carpet-making processes. Japan influences the west and vice versa, visible in the work of American-Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi and the French Charlotte Perriand.