CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide


16-18 March 2014, Amsterdam

“Presenting our Collections: Ideals, Ideas and Practice”

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From 16-18 March 2014 the CODART ZEVENTIEN congress took place in Amsterdam. The congress, organized in cooperation with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, focused on the presenting of collections. On these pages you find the program and information on the registration and accommodation, excursions, tours in the Rijksmuseum and the new Speakers’ Corner. We also provide you with background information about the congress locations. You can read a description of the congress theme below.

Gallery of Honour, 2013 (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Gallery of Honour, 2013 (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Congress theme: “Presenting our Collections: Ideals, Ideas and Practice”

The renewed Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam opened its doors on 13 April 2013, after large-scale renovations and refurbishing that lasted a decade. The renovation of the building, designed by Pierre Cuypers and finished in 1885, was based on plans devised by the Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz. Their designs called for the opening-up and transformation of the two inner courtyards. Storage rooms and offices have been reclaimed as exhibition spaces, and, wherever possible, the clear layout of the original design has been restored.

Perhaps even more fundamental than the modifications to the building are the radical changes in the presentation of the collections. Instead of organizing them according to art form or department (painting, sculpture, the applied arts, Dutch history), the pieces are now presented in a mixed display, in which paintings, statues, historical objects and pieces of decorative art are shown in a new context. A chronological tour covering various floors of the building gives an integral picture of art and culture that naturally focuses on the highlights of Dutch history and art. The museum’s alterations are based on the motto “an awareness of time and a feeling for beauty” (besef van tijd en gevoel voor schoonheid).

The new display in the Rijksmuseum is the result of a group effort, in which curators worked together with members of the educational department. The interior was designed by the Paris designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte, working closely with curators and conservators. The colors of the walls, the design of the display cases, the newly developed LED lighting – everything is aimed at the optimal presentation of the collections. Curators and educators were responsible for the accompanying texts. The use of digital media or moving images in the display was deliberately avoided.

By the time CODART ZEVENTIEN takes place, the new Rijksmuseum will have been open just under a year, and the public, the press and fellow museum professionals will have had ample opportunity to express their opinion of both the building and the display. The congress will offer CODART members a chance to contemplate – from the perspective of their specific areas of expertise – the renewed Rijksmuseum and to assess its objectives and the results of its striving to achieve them. The museum’s layout and display will certainly be the subject of discussion, but it is not our intention to limit the exchange of ideas to our host museum’s mode of presentation. To broaden the scope of our congress, a theme has been chosen that is relevant to all participants: Presenting our Collections: Ideals, Ideas and Practice. This theme not only provides an opportunity to react to the newly renovated Rijksmuseum, but also forms the point of departure for a more wide-ranging discussion of the presentation of Dutch art in museums around the world.