After a small intermezzo –my article about the exhibition ‘The Art of Banksy’ in Amsterdam– I now continue with my series about Groningen.
Today I’m taking you to the Groningen Museum, one of my favorite museums in the Netherlands.
What I love about the Groningen museum
When this museum was built (1994) I no longer lived in Groningen. Too bad, since my last house in Groningen was located practically around the corner of the museum. I would have frequented this museum so, so often!
Ah well, that’s life. It did -and does- not stop me from visiting the Groningen Museum from time to time. As part of a city trip to Groningen, it is well worth the travel.
The building is unique, colorful and unorthodox
Alessandro Mendini, a big name in New Design and Postmodernism, as the main architect, contracted others, like Philippe Starck, Michele de Lucci and Coop Himmelb(l)au, to work together and create this unique building:
The museum looks like a modern castle, with towers and a moat, don’t you think?
I love the diversity in used colors, patterns and materials! But I guess you are not surprised when I tell you that the building was considered to be quite controversial at the time. I guess it’s a building that you either love or hate.
When the museum was built, I was very excited to find out about the architects and designers they had chosen, since I was very much ‘into’ those myself at the time.
The bold use of vibrant colors and the playfulness of the designs of the Memphis group appealed enormously to me and it definitely inspired me in my home decor back then.
My love for Memphis and Alessi has faded, as far as my own home goes, but I still appreciate their role in (post-)modern design.
And I still love the architecture and design of the Groningen museum. Also on the inside of the museum.
The museum has interesting permanent collections
Another important collection of the museum is art by De Ploeg (1920-1930). I’ve always been a fan of the art by the members of this artists’ association. Their use of color is strong and different, reminding me of artists like Kandinsky and other Expressionists. Some work of De Ploeg belongs more to Impressionism.
Here are two examples:
The permanent collection is not all contemporary though. A major part of the museums’ collection has to do with the history and culture of the city and the province. From silverware to pottery and a lot more.
Groningen Museum’s temporary exhibitions are innovative and contemporary
The museum shows a lot of contemporary art, gathered in interesting exhibitions.
In the past they had e.g. Iris van Herpen and recently David Bowie, to name just two:
The last time I visited the museum, I enjoyed very much the following exhibitions that were on:
- Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus, two fashion designers. Fascinating how they incorporated historic fashion elements into a contemporary collection for men.
- Nacho Carbonell
Some of the creations looked like cocoons or nests. Shape and material makes one think of Hieronymus Bosch here and there. Some moments the work felt cosy to me, like something to curl up in. At the same time there definitely is a spooky, eerie atmosphere around Carbonell’s art as well.
- The myth of the electric guitar. In this exhibition the guitar collection of Luc Henzig was mixed with the guitarist paintings by Oliver Jordan. Many of the guitars on display were once played by legendary rock musicians. Wow, what a collection!
When in Holland, DO consider a weekend trip to Groningen city and province, folks. If possible, make it a friday and a saturday, since sundays can be be a bit ‘dead’ and dull in the Netherlands.
Groningen city has so many great shops (next article) that you want to have enough time to explore them all!
What do you think of this museum? Do you like the architecture? What about the collections and exhibitions? Would you pay the Groningen Museum a visit?