The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam announces the appointment of C&'s very own Yvette Mutumba and Adam Szymczyk, artistic director of documenta 14, as curators-at-large.
With Yvette Mutumba and Adam Szymczyk, the Stedelijk chose two curators and researchers who, in their different practices, have developed strong views on globalization, decolonization, and the relevance of art institutions in this context. Their appointment forms part of the consistent strategy of the Stedelijk to question its own established knowledge and engage with a multiplicity of narratives that transcend Western European modernism, and thus examine the museum’s own foundations.
The position of curator-at-large has been newly created at the Stedelijk to energize the institution with a diversity of ideas, adding alternative perspectives for the exhibition program, collection, and research and public program. In contrast to a guest curator, the curators-at-large commit to the museum for a longer period of time (initially two years) and are able to initiate their own projects, while also addressing the museum’s structures and conceptual frame.
“The two will be key figures in the transformation of Stedelijk into a different kind of museum,” director Rein Wolfs wrote in a press release. “A museum that can react to a changing world. Today a museum of modern and contemporary art has to reflect its position in a new and global perspective. Yvette and Adam will show our team and me other ways of thinking about a future Stedelijk . “
In their new roles, Mutumba and Szymczyk intervene in the development of upcoming exhibitions and collection presentations, inspire new lines in the research program of the Stedelijk, and initiate their own concepts of exhibitions, publications, and public programs. From their respective vantage points, they reflect and research the collection and the position of the museum vis-à-vis current regional and global contexts.
On her appointment Yvette Mutumba states: “In this current moment, which ferociously amplifies the uncertainty, pain, and disruption caused by systemic racism and ignorance, many cultural institutions in Europe and the United States are aligning themselves in solidarity with the cause. This can only be the beginning of the work that needed to be done already many decades ago. ” And she adds: “The Stedelijk Museum decided to take the first steps in that direction. I look forward to working with Rein Wolfs and his team, by bringing in new perspectives and impulses.”
“I am both humbled and excited by the prospect of working with the team of the Stedelijk—the museum that looks to a splendid history of avant-garde art and experimental exhibition concepts. And yet, this history is not an immutable monument: on the contrary, it obliges us to question the status quo,” says Adam Szymczyk. “The intention here is to take the museum for a walk, in search of identities yet to emerge, and materialize this experience in exhibitions and programs.”
Yvette Mutumba is an editor, curator, and educator, and stands for new perspectives in the art world. As a curator at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, Mutumba developed new exhibition formats and introduced a far broader perspective on contemporary art from Africa and its global diaspora as the co-founder of the art magazines Contemporary And (C&) and Contemporary And América Latina (C&AL). Together with Julia Grosse, Yvette Mutumba continues to be the editor-in-chief of both magazines. Mutumba was part of the curatorial team of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2018) and visiting professor for Global Discourses at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (2017–2018). She currently also lectures at the Institute of Art in Context, University of Arts, Berlin.
Adam Szymczyk is a curator with a powerful vision of rethinking exhibition formats and institutions. He shaped the profile of Kunsthalle Basel during his ten-year tenure as director and chief curator of the institution, and orchestrated, as artistic director, a much-discussed move of documenta 14 to Athens, curating with a large team an exhibition that embraced differences and steered away from the Western art world. In 2008 he co-curated with Elena Filipovic the 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, “When Things Cast No Shadow.” Szymczyk is a member of the Board of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and member of the Advisory Committee of Kontakt (The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation) in Vienna, where he also holds a seminar, “Undoing Landscape,” as guest lecturer at the Akademie der bildenden Künste.