The gallery talks are an opportunity to engage with an exhibition at a deeper level, under the guidance of an expert. The second speaker is Harm Stevens, co-curator of the exhibition. He will guide visitors along a personal selection of artworks from the exhibition.
For many, the late sixties are synonymous with the anti-Vietnam War hippy protests and the massive student unrest in Paris. In the major summer exhibition Amsterdam, the Magic Center, the Stedelijk looks beyond these widely-known facts to offer fresh insights into the ground-breaking developments of the era, and to explore the Amsterdam of that time as a vibrant international hub and laboratory for artistic and social innovation. Counterculture, experimentation and the spirit of the underground emerged from the shadows and came to define the city’s cultural life from 1967 onwards. The Stedelijk Museum, which had become a home for the avant-garde after the war, played a dual role: it actively embraced the new – for instance with exhibitions such as Op losse schroeven in 1969 – while the critical crowd dismissed it a conservative bastion of elitist art.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Harm Stevens (1969) is curator at the history department of the Rijksmuseum and a co-curator of the exhibition Amsterdam, The Magic Center. Art and counterculture 1967-1970. He is interested in the post-war history of the Netherlands, and specifically in the counterculture movements of the sixties. He focuses on happenings, the Provo movement and the anti-smoking magician Robert Jasper Grootveld; all of which prompted a British journalist to comment in 1967: 'The Dutch have stopped being dull'.
Admission: Museumticket + €3