From the museum website
Following the excavation of Pompeiï and Herculaneum in 1750, elements of the classical style were reincorporated within all forms of contemporary culture, from the visual arts to music and cuisine. From then on painters, architects and designers were to take up stylistic elements from Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and exotic cultures at an increasingly rapid pace. Thanks to neo-styles, the most exclusive art works of antiquity found their way to the man on the street. The exhibition illustrates this journey from palace to parlour in a variety of ways.
Neo is everywhere
You don’t have to look far to find neo. Since its beginnings in the 18th century, neo has made its presence felt in every aspect of culture. Time and time again artists have found inspiration in styles from the past, exotic lands or folk culture. The same holds true today. Think of the continuously evolving neo-styles in fashion, pop music and interior decor, for example. Think of the revivals of the hippy-look or of punk. Think of Madonna, a true icon of neo style; unrivalled when it comes to appropriating a continually changing range of styles and icons from the past.
Neo is an eye-opener
The Centraal Museum’s scintillating exhibition programme is intended to illustrate the concept of ‘neo’ in its broadest sense. Put together by guest curator Frans Haks, the exhibition occupies the nine galleries of the Centraal Museum’s stables complex. Here it becomes apparent that there is much more to NEO than the familiar neo-styles such as neo-classicism or neo-gothic. Even nature itself can function as a neo-style, as can the exotic. Apart from neo-styles in the visual and fine arts, NEO also embraces the neo in architecture and film. In the nine galleries every aspect of the various neo-styles is fully illustrated, creating a wonderful image of the most diverse facets of neo-culture from 1750 to the present.
Douwe Egberts made the exhibition possible within the context of the company’s 250-year jubilee. Museum-goers who submit two Douwe Egberts Jubilee Coupons at the admission desk only pay € 4,- instead of € 8,-, but the offer is not valid in combination with other reductions.
Jan Brand, Alex de Vries, Frans Haks and Dorine Duyster, Neo boek, Utrecht (Centraal Museum) 2003. 416 pages. Richly illustrated.