The favourites of... curator Francesco Stocchi

'Everything OK' is the first children’s' exhibition in the main program of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The following overview will address specific works from that exhibition. They are the favorites of Francesco Stochhi, curator Modern and Contemporary Art at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and initiator behind this special exhibition.

The origin of ‘Everything OK’

Curator Francesco Stocchi launched the idea to create a collection’s presentation that was specifically aimed at children. The collection (historic, modern and contemporary art and design) was to be presented in a way that was attractive to children. A think-tank came together, consisting of Stocchi, other museum employees, a pedagogue, a child psychologist and an artist. Together they developed the idea into a new and exciting exhibition. Children were involved in the development of the exhibition as a children’s advisory board consulted with the creators. The kids gave advice and decided whether or not the exhibition would appeal to them.

The team tests the height of the paintings.
The team tests the height of the paintings.

Eugène Boudin and Carl Andre

View of the Leuvehaven Harbor in Rotterdam - Eugène Boudin

Boudin was one of the first French painters to paint outdoors, “en plein air”. He had a predilection towards shores, boats and sea views, and is considered to be one of the precursors of Impressionism. This was the first modern art movement that carried the revolutionary merit to shift the emphasis from a (seemly) objective view, to an expression which was deliberately personal. This view of Rotterdam harbor exemplifies Boudin's passion to relate everyday and mundane life; the beauty that is found in the ordinary.

Forty-ninth steel cardinal - Carl Andre

A great revolutionary artist who challenged the medium of sculpture from a composition to merely look at, to something one could physically experience. Through this emphasis on the body, his work is purposefully distinct from architecture. Andre’s floor sculptures apply to existing architecture, rather than substituting it, and they are developed horizontally rather than vertically. Moreover, by using ordinary metal which is mass produced and interchangeable, his work should be read as political, reflecting on issues such unicity and authorship.

Eugène Boudin, View of the Leuvehaven Harbour in Rotterdam, 1876-1880, oil on panel, donation by P. van de Velde in 1911.
Eugène Boudin, View of the Leuvehaven Harbour in Rotterdam, 1876-1880, oil on panel, donation by P. van de Velde in 1911.
Carl Andre, Forty-ninth steel cardinal, 1974, steel sculpture, purchased with the support of Stichting Fonds Willem van Rede in 1979.
Carl Andre, Forty-ninth steel cardinal, 1974, steel sculpture, purchased with the support of Stichting Fonds Willem van Rede in 1979.

Edgar Degas and Cady Noland

Petite danseuse de quatorze ans - Edgar Degas

Degas was preoccupied with the movements of the body and in catching the fleeting moment of a distinct pose. This unique signature associates him to photographic preoccupations as his innovative point of view also testifies. The French artist depicted contemporary society, primarily indoors, with an emphasis on young ballerinas. In this work, you see a three dimensional personification of his favorite subject. The position seems still but the tension is perceivable as the ballerina holds a movement. All Degas’ other bronze casts were exhibited posthumously, with this sculpture (originally in wax cast) being the only exception that was exhibited during his lifetime.

Betty Ford - Cady Noland

What lies behind a laugh? Nothing reassuring according to Cady Noland, an innovative artist who worked between the end of the 80s and the early 90s. when she suddenly decided to quit artistic production. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen holds one of the most extensive collections of her work, which represents her innovation in the use of the medium and criticism towards the American Dream. If Pop Art of the 1960s emphasized and celebrated American consumer culture, 25 years later the Neo-Pop Art brings a more dark and pessimistic vision of the future. The society is seen as hopeless, stubborn and stuck in the principles of the American’s myth of the Far West. A clarity of intentions is accompanied by an ambiguous medium: this silkscreen on aluminum is at the same time a photograph and a two-dimensional sculpture (it has a front, no back), or nothing of the above.

Edgar Degas, Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, 1922, bronze and textile, loan of the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1939.
Edgar Degas, Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, 1922, bronze and textile, loan of the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1939.
Cady Noland, Betty Ford, 1994, screen printing on aluminum, donation Cady Noland in 1997.
Cady Noland, Betty Ford, 1994, screen printing on aluminum, donation Cady Noland in 1997.

Orpheus, Eurydice and Aristaeus - Jacopo del Sellaio

Orpheus is the artist par excellence, since he embodies the eternal values of art, but he is also a "shaman, capable of enchanting animals and do the soul's journey along the dark paths of death". The multiple themes implicated in his myth - love, art, the mystery – served as an unparalleled foundation in future literature, philosophy, music and sculpture. Studying with Filippo Lippi, Jacopo del Sellaio was an eccentric painter. His style is representative of the “Florentine School”, a great example of early Renaissance work. Botticelli’s influence is present.

Man Ray en Bruce Nauman

Cadeau - Man Ray

Although best known as a photographer, Man Ray defined himself as a painter, a medium which he never abandoned throughout his prolific life. However, the American artist has been able to develop a genre through sculpture which I would call “three dimensional collage”, which is inspired by Dada poetry. This work is an Illogical solution for a dysfunctional object. It attracts by rejecting me, which I find seductive.

Double Steel Cage - Bruce Nauman

“Double Steel Cage” is one work by one of the greatest artists alive. Interested in one self’s perception of the body, this work invites to action by entering into a realm of opposites. Once entering into the cage, the person feels at the same time contained within his own body and exposed to the outside. There is no shortcut or immediate way out. The path is obvious, long and maybe painful which brings the spectator to become an actor and maybe a victim. I like how children interpret this piece in an opposite way, with fun and joy.

Man Ray, Cadeau, 1921, cast metal iron and copper nails, purchased by Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1995.
Man Ray, Cadeau, 1921, cast metal iron and copper nails, purchased by Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1995.
Bruce Nauman, Double steel cage, 1974, steel, purchase by the museum in 1980.
Bruce Nauman, Double steel cage, 1974, steel, purchase by the museum in 1980.

Family in a park - Caspar Netscher

Caspar Netscher was a Dutch painter who specialized in portraiture. He introduced an international style to the Northern Netherlands of which this work is an example. Although it at first looks like a family portrait, we notice soon that the children are the protagonists of the picture. The presence of six children is emphasized by two sculptures of children in the forefront and in the middle of the composition. Such an emphasis is a rare event for the époque when the depiction of children was predominantly dedicated to religious representations. The atmosphere is dramatic and uncertain as some elements recall a domestic scene, indoor, while nature brings us outside. An ideal portrait of an impossible moment.