Be(com)ing Dutch at a Distance

The Gatherings, December 26-28, 2007, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Exhibition design by Nathalie Schellekens and Jan Dijkstra
Image courtesy Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven


-Annie Fletcher and Charles Esche, Van Abbemuseum

Be(com)ing Dutch is a large project developed over two years both inside and outside the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Consisting of debates, reading groups, artist’s projects, exhibitions, and residencies, it interrogated various forms of collective participation and production. As questions of cultural identity and normative “national” values become ever more of an issue in political and cultural debate, Be(com)ing Dutch asks whether art can offer alternative examples of thinking about how we can live together today.

Like the Be(com)ing Dutch exhibition in Eindhoven, “Museum as Hub: Be(com)ing Dutch at a Distance” at the New Museum is guided by three broad directional themes: Imagined Past, Imagined Present, and Imagined Future. Michael Blum’s installation Exodus 2048 transforms the Museum as Hub space for the duration of the exhibition, representing an Imagined Future where the museum itself serves as a fictional camp for Israeli refugees. The Imagined Present is represented in Lidwien van de Ven’s Freedom of Expression, originally an installation at the Van Abbemuseum and re-created here as a poster in the Museum as Hub newspaper and a special presentation and screening organized by the artist to consider the issues of Islamaphobia, new right-wing thinking in Europe, and the politics of citizenship and immigration. Finally, screenings of Johan van der Keuken’s film I love $ in the New Museum theater reference the Imagined Past: the film shows an almost prophetic and still-topical treatment of global capitalism.

The exhibition and the entire Be(com)ing Dutch two-year project concludes with the project’s book launch and closing reception on March 27.

For more information about Be(com)ing Dutch, please visit