STEDELIJK BASE is the permanent installation of iconic works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum. It occupies the entire new wing of the museum and features a selection of around 700 pieces grouped around historic movements, social themes, and influential artists. The display begins with STEDELIJK BASE part 1 in the ABN AMRO Gallery including works by seminal figures such as Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld, Nola Hatterman, Charley Toorop, Barnett Newman, Yves Klein, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed van der Elsken, Yayoi Kusama, and Sheila Hicks. Next, visitors can take the escalator to the VandenEnde Foundation Gallery, where part 2 of STEDELIJK BASE continues with an extraordinary installation by Barbara Kruger and art from the 1980s to the present day, featuring work by Jeff Koons, Anselm Kiefer, Maarten Baas, Nan Goldin, and Marlene Dumas. 

Ranging from the origins of abstraction and industrial design in the late 19th century to contemporary 3D-printed vases and socially engaged painting, STEDELIJK BASE is a perfect introduction to the history of modern art and design. 


STEDELIJK BASE is the first-ever major, integrated presentation of art and design in the history of the museum. All media are considered equally important, and are also in dialogue with each other. The result is a diverse combination of paintings, furniture, jewelry, sculptures, everyday objects, accessories, photography, drawings, installations, video art, posters, and interiors. The dialogue between them illuminates common threads that inspired the emergence of these various art forms (such as De Stijl and Bauhaus) while also eliciting new connections.


The exhibition design of STEDELIJK BASE part 1 has been developed by AMO/Rem Koolhaas together with Federico Martelli. It proposes an innovative way to present the permanent collection. The experimental curatorial vision of former Stedelijk director Beatrix Ruf, bold architecture, and the latest technological developments combine to allow visitors to experience the collection through an open-ended route. The chronology can be followed on the perimeter, while freestanding walls in the middle create separate sectors highlighting groups of artworks that represent a specific theme or aspect of the collection. 

AMO delved into the museum’s archives to explore the various ways the Stedelijk has exhibited its collection over the years. The exhibition design of STEDELIJK BASE part 1 builds on the experimental DNA of the Stedelijk. The layout understands the collection as a network of relations rather than a presentation of individual artworks. To capture these interconnections, very thin walls define an almost urban environment of free association and multiple relations.


STEDELIJK BASE is the finale of the museum’s revised spatial design; the building now has a clearer layout, and 70 percent of the museum’s space is devoted to the collection. On the ground floor of the historic building, STEDELIJK TURNS presents a changing program of collection displays, each showcasing new perspectives, research, and topical themes. STEDELIJK NOW, which occupies the first floor, is home to a roster of temporary exhibitions. Another renewed architectural element is the entrance area, which, in collaboration with Benthem Crouwel Architects, has been transformed into a welcoming meeting place for visitors. 


While STEDELIJK BASE is devoted to the highlights (artworks in the art historical canon), STEDELIJK TURNS sheds light on hidden or suppressed stories, and unseen or rarely exhibited artworks. Fueled by new research and topical themes, these alternative perspectives will inspire changes in STEDELIJK BASE. Consequently, STEDELIJK BASE will be a dynamic, changing presentation that, over the next five years, will invite visitors to experience the transformation of the canon.


Visitors to STEDELIJK BASE can begin in the lower level gallery, which presents a survey of developments in art and design from the late 19th century up to 1980. Next, visitors can take the escalator to the upper floor. There the exhibition continues with an immersive installation by Barbara Kruger, which leads to exhibition spaces featuring art from the 1980s to the present day. 


The Stedelijk Museum has always been a place for experimentation: from Vincent van Gogh’s debut solo exhibition in the Netherlands in 1905 to 365 days of live art during Tino Sehgal’s A Year at the Stedelijk in 2015, from the space-age fashion show featuring experimental jewelry by Emmy van Leersum and Gijs Bakker in 1967 to table tennis on Museum Square with Rirkrit Tiravanija in 2016, and much, much more. In all of its exhibitions and acquisitions, the Stedelijk has always embraced experimentation, playfulness, and challenging art and exhibition practices. 

The museum’s history is presented with a time line in the entrance area to STEDELIJK BASE. Key exhibitions such as Cobra (1949), Bewogen beweging(1961), Dylaby (1962), Perspectief op textiel (1969), Op losse schroeven: situaties en cryptostructuren (1969), and Horn of Plenty (1989), which left their distinctive mark on the collection, are also highlighted in STEDELIJK BASE. 


The building’s revitalized layout and collection presentation format are based on the vision of Beatrix Ruf and realized by the team of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The exhibition display for STEDELIJK BASE / Part 1 is designed by AMO / Rem Koolhaas with Federico Martelli. Special thanks for the generous support of our partners Stedelijk Museum Fonds, Tata Steel Netherlands, ProWinko ProArt and BankGiro Loterij.

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