A curator’s journey from MOCA to the Stedelijk

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The Stedelijk Museum has a long-standing reputation in the art world for innovation. That spirit was underscored with the 2009 choice of an American as its new director: Ann Goldstein, who was then a senior curator at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Goldstein was excited by the notion of presiding over the reopening of the country’s most important museum of modern and contemporary art, which had been closed for renovations since 2003. Because of delays due to governmental bureaucracy, funding issues and construction problems, the museum had presented exhibitions in satellite locations around Amsterdam between 2004 and 2008. The stately brick 19th century building in the city’s museum quarter was missing out on the hordes of tourists lined up to visit its neighbors, the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.


By the time Goldstein had moved her belongings to Amsterdam, it was clear that the museum was not going to open as planned in fall 2010. Rather than wait for a proper opening, Goldstein dipped into her experience at MOCA, where she started her career in 1985. Back then, delays in the construction of the Arata Isozaki-designed building on Grand Avenue led MOCA officials to hire architect Frank Gehry to create a temporary museum out of a Little Tokyo warehouse, what came to be known as the Temporary Contemporary. Now named the Geffen Contemporary, it has remained in use, the scale and informality of its space popular with artists and curators.

Goldstein decided to produce her own version of that operation to reintroduce the public to its long-shuttered museum. She had the old building reopened with a ticket kiosk and a cafe, and installed “temporary” art in the Stedelijk’s partially renovated galleries. She calls the exhibition “Taking Place.”

To read the Arts & Books section article, click here.

--Hunter Drohojowska-Phil