AMSTERDAM – 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 appointment of Yvette Mutumba and Adam Szymczyk 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 curators-at-large are involved with the museum’s team on several levels. 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.
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. 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 and editor-in-chief of the art magazines Contemporary And (C&) and Contemporary And América Latina (C&AL).
Adam Szymczyk is a curator with a powerful vision of rethinking exhibition formats and institutions. He shaped the profile of Kunsthalle Basel during his 10-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.
Rein Wolfs, director of the Stedelijk, says: “Yvette Mutumba and Adam Szymczyk will be key figures in reshaping the Stedelijk into a different kind of museum, one that is equipped to respond to a changed world. Today, an international museum of modern and contemporary art and design needs to reflect critically on its position in the new global perspective. Yvette and Adam will be able to show our staff and myself other ways of thinking about a future Stedelijk.”