Boijmans builds for the future: Overview of 2015
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Boijmans builds for the future: Overview of 2015
Queen Máxima opens Design Derby 19 June 2015. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.

ROTTERDAM.- Thousands of visitors per day are ensuring a glorious end to 2015 for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This year, almost 270,000 art lovers of all ages from all around the world have enjoyed the world-class collection, inspiring programme and exciting new acquisitions. This year, the museum’s fervent desire for a new publicly accessible storage facility has been granted, heralding a new chapter in the museum’s history.

Window on the world
In 2015 Rotterdam has once again been heaped with praise. The museum feels at home in this enterprising city with an international outlook. It welcomes residents of Rotterdam young and old and has succeeded in attracting growing numbers of tourists. There has been much praise for the museum’s fine collection, which has attracted extra attention from Dutch art lovers this autumn with the exhibition ‘From Bosch to Bruegel’. The museum has also sent an exhibition about 200 years of design to Belgium and one about the future of fashion to China. A growing international audience of more than 1.7 million people is following the museum via social media, the museum’s websites and ARTtube’s videos.

Travelling art
Some 450 works from the collection were sent abroad as ambassadors of Rotterdam to be enjoyed by more than 3.6 million art lovers around the world. ‘Our’ Titus by Rembrandt was admired by 800,000 enthusiastic visitors at the National Gallery in London and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. ‘The Kiss’ by Andy Warhol, a canvas measuring more than 2 x 5 metres, was restored and sent abroad for the first time in 25 years. This painting and other Pop Art works from the collection are currently on display in the exhibition ‘Pop Art in Belgium!’ at the ING Art Center in Brussels.

Growing collection
The collection was enriched this year with 33 gifts, 46 long-term loans and 40 purchases. This year the museum began a public restoration of the 500-year-old painting ‘Saint Christopher’ by Hieronymus Bosch. At TEFAF, the leading art and antiques fair, the museum seized a unique opportunity to acquire an early work by René Magritte entitled ‘Le miroir vivant’. Thanks to a ‘leading gift’ by the Rembrandt Association and contributions from other funds, the work will be added to the museum’s world-famous Surrealist collection by the end of the year.

Public Art Depot for world-class collection
On 5 November Rotterdam City Council gave the go-ahead to build the Public Art Depot. Three years from now the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility will open its doors. The iconic building will rise up in the Museumpark, adjacent to the museum. Visitors will have access to 75,000 objects from the museum’s world-class collection. The Public Art Depot has been designed by architects MVRDV, known for the Market Hall in Rotterdam.

Enterprising Rotterdam
The museum’s activities bring significant sums of money into the city. Revenue generated by visitors to Boijmans has risen to more than €12.7 million per year. This summer the museum again welcomed more foreign visitors: 1 in 4 was a tourist. Market research shows that the museum received 20% more new visitors in 2015. Visits to the museum are increasingly combined with visits to other hotspots in the city such as the Market Hall. 23% of visitors come from Rotterdam and the surrounding area. In 2015 the museum welcomed no fewer than 25,000 schoolchildren from Rotterdam, an increase of 10% on last year.

The museum’s strong links with the business community have resulted in an increase in membership of the Boijmans Business Club and Boijmans Corporate Members: each year more than 50 companies support Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s activities. The number of individuals who have supported the museum with substantial gifts has more than doubled.

Learn and inspire
This year the museum continued its successful tradition of a rich and varied education programme for visitors young and old. Approximately 11,000 people attended lectures and symposiums or participated in workshops and other activities and almost 10,000 attended Museum Night and the museum’s festive openings. The museum also organises special programmes for specific target groups. An example is the ‘Big Counting Day’ in which children in more than a 1000 school across the country practice their numeracy skills with exercises based on artworks from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The ‘Big Counting Day’ grew out of Boijmans’ Language and Numeracy Programme, which has been nominated this year for the new Museum Education Prize. Another example is the launch of the ‘Unforgettable Boijmans’ programme in which the museum makes art accessible to people with dementia and their carers through interactive guided tours. The autumn half-term holiday saw the start of the project ‘Dancing Museums’ in which five international choreographers took inspiration from the museum and its public. Over the next two years in five European locations they will seek answers to the questions: how can dance influence and enhance looking at art and how can art be a source of inspiration for dance? At the beginning of October the museum organised ‘The Big Draw Rotterdam’ together with TENT, Showroom MAMA, Witte de With and Villa Zebra,

The online video channel ARTtube also witnessed new developments in 2015, the first of which was an updated website. The partnership has grown to include 20 museums in the Netherlands and Belgium, making ARTtube the world’s leading platform for videos about art and design. On 28 January Viktor & Rolf presented their new haute couture collection during Fashion Week in Paris. ARTtube was there to broadcast the show live! Three outfits from the ‘Van Gogh Girls’ collection are now on display at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The ARTtube Arttinder had its debut during the exhibition ‘Design Derby’: in this mobile cabin visitors can create an art profile by ‘swiping’ artworks to ‘hot’ or ‘not’. Their profile generates a personalised selection of videos. This year ARTtube returned to the Lowlands Festival and kicked off the new season at the Uitmarkt. Another high point was the launch, on 3 September, of weekly broadcasts of topical ARTtube videos on NPO Cultura. ARTtube is working together with NTR School TV and AVROTROS on a new programme for secondary schools: Art Hour in the Class, which will be launched in January. ARTtube was nominated for the IVI Award 2015 and came in the top 3! The film about Geert Verbeke from the series ‘We Live Art’ won the main prize at the China International New Media Short Film Festival. ARTtube’s videos were watched 650,000 times by 230,000 unique visitors and the museums uploaded more than 100 new videos. This year Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen made 20 new videos about artists, exhibitions and the museum’s collection.

New Year
More than 85,000 people have visited ‘From Bosch to Bruegel: Uncovering Everyday Life’. This wonderful exhibition runs until the third weekend of January. Exhibition such as this are the motor of the museum and can be realised only with the support of numerous individuals and funding bodies. During Art Rotterdam Week in February the museum is opening a solo exhibition of work by Ugo Rondinone and the group exhibition ‘Project Rotterdam’. This summer visitors will have another chance to see the poetic water installation ‘Notion Motion’ by Olafur Eliasson from the collection of Han Nefkens. The year will be brought to a close with a Gispen exhibition and a unique encounter with the artistic practice of Renaissance artist Fra Bartolommeo, whose most beautiful drawings and prints are in the museum’s collection.

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