Dec. 30, 2021

The year is ending in the same way it began: with an abruptly closed Kunsthal. However, after a lockdown that lasted nearly six months, Kunsthal Rotterdam can look back on a year in which many visitors were still successful in finding their way to the exhibitions. Together with our partners we also succeeded in realising many events, including The Utopia Ball, the We Are Animals Weekend, ArtCouples, and various Take Overs, for instance by Rotterdam Pride. And this year, All you can Art didn’t just take place during the summer, but also throughout the autumn in the shape of the intensive project ‘Art Sleepover’. In 2021, our diverse and high-contrast programme combined with our equally diverse audience again resulted in the dynamic Kunsthal vibe. Time for a brief retrospective and preview.

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Kunsthal Rotterdam 1. The Utopia Ball, Deep in Vogue. Celebrating Ballroom Culture, photo Roza Ahmad 2. Youthquake, photo Marco De Swart 3. Ernesto Neto, It happens when the body is anatomy of time, 2000, Calder Now, photo © Ossip van Duivenbode

In spite of a decreasing number of (day) tourists and physical school visits, as well as the cancellation of large-scale events such as Museum Night and Kunsthal LIVE on Sunday, nearly 110,000 people visited the Kunsthal in a little over six months. The exhibitions We Are Animals and Youthquake, which had been ready and waiting for visitors behind closed doors for months since January, could be successfully extended. Unfortunately the same did not apply to The Museum of the Netherlands, an exhibition realised in collaboration with public broadcaster Omroep MAX. All sixty memorable objects that had managed to claim a place for themselves in this exhibition after a great deal of effort, had to be returned to their owners unseen.

Kunsthal online

The spring was all about online activities. There were, for instance, Masterclasses by DJ Isis and the artist Bas Kosters. The ‘Petcasts’: a five-part podcast series to accompany We Are Animals. Online editions of See you later, Illustrator which, starting this year, will always be attended by a sign-language interpreter. A hybrid edition of ArtCouples in collaboration with Rotterdamse Helden (Rotterdam Heroes) aimed at reaching out to elderly people who are unable to independently visit a museum. And above all the online Kunstbuzz for We Are Animals which was realised with the help of main sponsor ING, enabling 2,300 secondary education students and 1,900 primary education students to participate in the programme. In this way, the Kunsthal was able to reach schools throughout the country, and even in Aruba.

Lively summer

After its reopening on Saturday 5 June, the Kunsthal’s summer was nearly as lively as usual. This past autumn, the All you can Art artists and a new crop of Summer School students took over the Kunsthal Auditorium and ventured into the city with the help of various partners including Laurens geriatric care, Kunstlab, and Reakt. In the autumn All you can Art continued in the shape of a ‘slumber party’ for artworks from the collection of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Visitors of all ages were amazed by the extraordinary animal creations in We Are Animals. And the exhibition Youthquake – focusing on the desire for eternal youth – also captured the imagination of many. In September, Magnetic North opened, an exhibition featuring the majestic paintings of the Canadian Group of Seven as well as video works by Indigenous artists that offer a different perspective on these artworks. Just before the Christmas holiday, this exhibition was unexpectedly cut short. The good news is that the exhibition Deep in Vogue, which was realised in close collaboration with Amber Vineyard and the ballroom community, will be extended. In September, Deep in Vogue was opened with a heart-warming edition of The Utopia Ball which could also be livestreamed thanks to Mastercard. Up to and including 13 March, everyone will be able to discover the expressive power of Ballroom at the Kunsthal.

Calder Now

Exactly one month before the latest lockdown started, the exhibition Calder Now, exploring the enduring influence of Alexander Calder on contemporary art, was opened at the Kunsthal. Realising this extensive project in close collaboration with the Calder Foundation had been a long and intense process. In the hope that we would have left the restrictive COVID-19 measures behind us by then, the exhibition had already been pushed forward a year in 2020. Fortunately, Calder Now can still be seen until 29 May, and we hope we can soon welcome back the many visitors who had already booked a ticket for the Christmas holiday period.


In the new year, on 1 November 2022 to be precise, the Kunsthal will celebrate its 30th anniversary. In the run-up to this date, the Kunsthal will organise various ‘special edition’ events, including Kunsthal LIVE on Sunday, a series of Tastemaker Tours, and an international version of ArtCouples. In June, which is also Architecture Month, the spotlights will be on the Kunsthal building. And around 1 November, we will conclude the anniversary year in an extra festive way – but more about that later.

From 27 January, the 2022 exhibition programme will be kicked off in a special way with the world premiere of the installation Sunshine State by the artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen, realised in collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam. From 26 February the Kunsthal will be presenting ‘Job, Joris & Marieke. A Triple Life’, an exhibition about the Netherlands’ most famous animation talents. And for the spring and summer we will organise, among other things, an exhibition by the Kurdish artist Erkan Özgen and the exhibition ‘Here We Are’, focusing on female designers through works from the collection of the Vitra Design Museum. This summer, the Kunsthal will also be presenting ‘Under the Skin’. Due to the Covid-19 measures, this very well received exhibition about the French artist and activist Claude Cahun could only be shown for a brief period at the Cobra Museum. The Kunsthal is happy to announce that it can now show this exhibition to a wider audience.

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1. Various works by Paola Pivi in the exhibition We Are Animals, photo Marco De Swart 2. All you can Art, Kunst Blijft Slapen, photo Naomi Modde 3. KunstKoppels in the exhibition Magnetic North, Kunsthal Rotterdam, photo Marco De Swart

The Kunsthal would like to thank all funds, sponsors, lenders, collaboration partners, and artists without whom realising our versatile programme would not be possible.

Kickstart Cultuurfonds, VSBfonds, Mastercard, Hans Boodt Mannequins, Van der Mandele Stichting, G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting, Stichting Droom en Daad, Vivara, Mondriaan Fonds, Vriendenloterij Fonds, Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, GoCanada, Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, Van Ommeren-de Voogt Stichting, Magnum, Canadese Ambassade in Nederland, Ahrend, Fonds 21, Turing Foundation, Stichting Zabawas, Nationale-Nederlanden, U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands, nhow Rotterdam, MediaCenter Rotterdam, Morrow, Fabrique, IVA, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Omroep Max, Stroom Den Haag, Museum het Valkhof, Instituto Buena Bista Curaçao, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Zuiderpark College, Reakt, Laurens, Via Kunst, Kunstlab, National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Singular Plurality, , Rotterdam Pride, Nationaal fonds voor Vrede, Vrijheid en Veteranenzorg (Vfonds), Afronova Gallery, Stadsarchief Rotterdam, CBK Rotterdam, Calder Foundation, Afrovibes Foundation, The Utopia Ball, JimmyPaul, Blijdorp, Martina Weinhart, Manon Portos Minetti, Emy Koopman, Judy Hooymeyer, Jeanette den Toonder, Solko Schalm, UrbanGuides, House of Vineyard, Amber Vineyard, Elly Vineyard, Maison the Faux, Aitana Mugler, Jojo Mugler, Kia Vineyard, Sarafina 007, Dieter Buchhart, Anna Karina Hofbauer, Veerle Driessen, Wessel Klootwijk, Yara Ruby, Ottilie Maters, Doelenensemble, Ivan Words, Kees Moeliker, Dennis Vink, Medy Oberendorff, TORI, Balansz, Sterrin Smalbrugge, Michael van Kekem, Bernice Notenboom, Dide Vonk, Rianne van Duin, VoorleesExpress Rotterdam, gemaal op Zuid, Pauluskerk, Willem de Kooning Academie, Bas Kosters, DJ Isis, Chicks and the City, Rotterdamse Helden, Een tegen Eenzaamhedi, Eva Rovers, , LantarenVenster, Natuurmonumenten, Natascha Hokke, Odin, Jos Willemse, Ploum, Anthony Veder Groep, Automatic Signal, DVAN Advocaten, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, NGM International, PwC Rotterdam, Reset, Steens & Partners, SV Collection, Twigt GrafiMedia.

City of Rotterdam, Vriendenloterij, Kunsthal Friends, ING.

And in particular all the artists, lenders, and all partners and institutions that are not mentioned here.

See also

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