The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam unveils the closing piece of the new collection presentation, ‘Yesterday Today’. With the arrival of Rein Wolfs, the artistic director who took office in November 2019, the SMA collection has been overhauled in a new, thematic way.
The exhibition Yesterday Today shows art and design from approximately 1880 to 1950. Everyday, Someday and Other Stories shows developments in visual art and design from the 1950s to the 1980s. Finally, the collection from 1980 to the present is on view in Tomorrow is a Different Day.
With over 300 works, ‘Yesterday Today’ aims to shows that a single art history does not exist, but rather encompasses many perspectives. Well-known artistic movements are discussed, such as the Amsterdam School, Functionalism, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Cobra and the avant-garde around Kazimir Malevich and Olga Rozanova. By showing well-known works together with lesser-known works, other stories come to the surface.
Like the previous two parts, ‘Yesterday Today’ shows that art and design are closely linked to social developments. The rise of industrialisation, the modern city and nightlife are important themes for various artists and designers, but the downsides are also shown: poverty and ideologies that have led to war and resistance. The relationship between modernism and colonialism is examined, and attention is paid to the anti-colonial struggle, which started much earlier than the 1940s, as witnessed by posters showing the connection between industrialization and colonization.
Karel Appel, Sitting girl, 1946
Oil on cardboard, 89.8 x 60 cm
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
1071 DJ Amsterdam