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Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered at The Museum of the City of New York

Stunning and highly original images of New York and New Yorkers created by 13 prominent Dutch photographers—some internationally renowned (Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Hendrik Kerstens, and Rineke Dijkstra, among others), some young and emerging—will be on view in Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered, one of three exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York organized in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s epic 1609 voyage into New York Harbor, and the original Dutch colonies in New York. Dutch Seen, on view from June 10 through September 13, 2009, is presented in association with one of the world’s leading photography museums, FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam; the exhibition is organized by Kathy Ryan.

dutch-seenCommented Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York, “Dutch Seen features an artistic engagement with New York City at a milestone in our history. It is almost as if Dutch explorers have come back to follow up on their experiment of 400 years ago, to report on how it all turned out.”

The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage for the Dutch East India Company provided the occasion for commissioning this inventive portfolio of photographs by artists who are breaking new ground in the field. The work in Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered, virtually all of which is being created expressly for the exhibition, provides a riveting portrait of New York City, including its people, its natural and human environment, and the continuing dialogue between its past and present.

For example, Hendrik Kerstens’ iconic portraits of his daughter Paola—virtually his sole subject throughout his career—make reference to her Dutch origins through the surprising incorporation of elements of contemporary New York—a plastic shopping bag, a napkin from a New York restaurant—in a kind of double exposure uniting antiquity and modernity.

Other artists have used the anniversary of Hudson’s sail into New York Harbor and the founding of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to recreate the original sense of discovery and newness experienced by the first Europeans to step foot on Atlantic shores. Among these is Misha de Ridder, whose monumental landscapes evoking the “new world” that Hudson and Dutch settlers encountered upon their arrival, captures the stunning and pristinely beautiful wilderness that possibly seduced and captivated, yet terrified the earliest explorers. In this same line of inquiry, Jaap Scheeren has said, “I will bring the wilderness back to Manhattan.”

Still others are focusing on an essential “New York” quality. For example, Wijnanda Deroo’s photographs of New York City’s popular and renowned eateries and restaurants are unpeopled, evoking the comical or the eerie, the fantastic or surreal in their décor and design. Most distinctive in these images is the quietude or emptiness that her pictures can suggest, a quality that is rare among the city’s more commercial venues.

Still other artists are engaged in a study of New Yorkers themselves, focusing on the people who comprise the city; one such study, by Erwin Olaf, will imaginatively portray African-Americans in the early 20th century through a series of narrative tableaux. Other portfolios focusing on the inhabitants of the metropolis will include, surprisingly, Charlotte Dumas’ portraits of regal-looking, though fearsome, shelter dogs.

Museum of the City of New York · 1220 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10029 · 212.534.1672

Image: Napkin, 2009 copyright: Hendrik Kerstens