Queering the Collection
The Van Abbemuseum is trying to become more and more inclusive all the time in all sorts of ways, and Queering can be seen as one of these methods. It is often assumed that queering only concerns subjects related to LGBTI and examines homosexuality in the arts. Although this is one of the important foundations of the method, queering takes one step further. Everything that goes against the grain or that is unexpected or fluid in terms of identity, sexuality and politics particularly has a central place in the process. Queering sees sexuality as being fluid and rejects the general categories and standards. With Queering the Collection the Van Abbemuseum is contributing to the visibility of the LGBTI heritage in the arts, providing support for gathering information and experimenting with it.
Queer Reading Group
The Van Abbemuseum will host a weekly queer reading group on the subject of queer separatism. The sessions will include an introductory talk by artist and writer Eimear Walshe followed by group discussions that examine how, throughout history, queers have united to create spaces designed and organised on their own terms. Though usually used to describe the outright rejection of society, the series will take the widest possible definition of separatism, drawing on examples from social, political, domestic and educational spheres.
The reading group is led by Eimear Walshe. Walshe's work seeks to reconcile queer histories with personal or local narratives through fiction, biography, and academic writing. This reading group is part of Queering the Collection and the Deviant Practices research programmes at the Van Abbemuseum.
With the new collection presentation the queer practice at the museum becomes an integral part of the emerging working methods. At the heart of the presentation is the Werksalon, a place dedicated to re-configuring, repositioning, negotiating, commenting and discussing the artworks on display, but also the societal topics that they relate to.
Queering activities and projects
As part of Queering the Collection we regularly organize activities and projects in the museum. For instance, we've organized the Queer Media Club, the Queering Sessions and a Queer Reading Group. Also, in 2016-2017 visitors could use a special 'Queering tool' to tour the museum. For more information about these and other activities and projects, please visit our archive page.
Facilities - Gender-neutral toilets
The restrictions of the division into only two gender identities for men and women become painfully obvious with regard to the use of toilets. People who do not have such an obvious identity feel victimized, classified in boxes, and feel that others tell them which toilet is for them and which is not. The Van Abbe would like to avoid these unfortunate confrontations by introducing gender-neutral toilets so that exclusivity is avoided in toilets. Just as toilets at home can be used by all genders, this is also possible in the Van Abbe, and no one is excluded.
Queering the Collection consists of a partnership with IHLIA, the Reinwardt Academie in Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Museum to increase visibility of LGBTI heritage in public collections. We invite you to join discussions about this topic with us and other people in the Facebook group Queering the Van Abbe.
Queering the Collection is supported by The Art of Impact, Stichting PANN and PLANETROMEO.
Queer Art (collection)
Two works from the Berlin artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz were recently donated to the Van Abbemuseum by Eindhoven collector Maurice van Valen. The video installations Normal Work and Toxic can be identified as queer art because the work provides space for the history of photography and its relationship with sexual identity and intimacy. In this way Boudry/Lorenz challenge the view that identity is a static entity which imposes limitations on others.
In 2015 the Van Abbe published its first Queer Glossary. By providing a clear summary of the terminology related to queer issues from a personal perspective, the sociologist Alice Venir wrote this informative glossary together with the museum in order to stimulate discussions about queerness.