Jan. 3, 2024

Kunsthal Rotterdam concluded the successful year 2023 with a record number of visitors during the Christmas holidays. The large-scale retrospective exhibition Ai Weiwei. In Search of Humanity — still on view until 3 March 2024 — attracted over 16,000 visitors during the final week of the year. The digital visual spectacle Living Paintings: Nature by the
artist Refik Anadol also mobilised large numbers of people. All in all, this brought the total number of visitors 310,000, the third highest number in the Kunsthal’s 31-year history. The first few days of the new year started off with a large surge of visitors as well.

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Presenting itself as one of the most visitor-friendly museums for a wide variety of target groups — from fashionistas to lovers of art, design, and music, and from senior citizens to families and young people — the Kunsthal is accessible to everyone. Director Marianne Splint: “We are proud that this year’s mission has again led to such evident results, thanks to the support of our audience and the many (inter)national partners and sponsors that have made it all possible. Together with them we have realised an inspiring, occasionally confrontational, but always surprising programme that focused on the experience.''

Highlights in 2023

Apart from the high visitor numbers, extensive media coverage, and an audience appreciation score of 9+ (out of 10) for the exhibition Ai Weiwei. In Search of Humanity, the Kunsthal can also look back on many other highlights in 2023. The artists featured in the exhibition In the Black Fantastic, compiled by guest curator Ekow Eshun, used their limitless power of imagination and technical virtuosity to uncover new worlds and possibilities. Both young and older visitors jointly balanced on the large inflatable matrass in Mind Expanders, and were thus introduced to the exuberant work of the rebellious architect’s collective HausRucker-Co. We furthermore realised the first year-round collaboration between Reakt and the artists of All you can Art, as well as the eighth edition of the Summer School and the Open Studio. On the occasion of the Slavery Memorial Year, artist and guest curator patricia kaersenhout compiled a total installation — for which Kunsthal collaborated with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen — that presented the dominant white culture as a curiosity and was accompanied by a large number of activities. Other successful jewels included exhibitions by Patricia Piccinini, Felipe Pantone, Steef Zoetmulder, and Madeleine Berkhemer.

The Kunsthal organised a Naked Tour which was completely sold out, as well as a more than fully booked Artist Talk by Ai Weiwei. The event KunstKoppels (ArtCouples) brought about countless new encounters, and the family exhibition Princess Arabella went on tour. Furthermore, VriendenLoterij presented the Kunsthal with a contribution in the amount of 730,000 euros, earmarked for organising thirty editions of Friday Night LIVE over the next three years. During these energy-packed nights out, the Kunsthal is joining forces with cultural partners in the city for the purpose of attracting a wider and new audience. The first three editions that were held last autumn were a great success.

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This year the Kunsthal again collaborated with numerous international exhibition partners, such as Ai Weiwei Studio, Albertina Modern, Institut für Kulturaustausch, Instituto Buena Bista Curaçao, Victoria and Albert Museum, Refik Anadol Studio, and local partners, including De Dépendance, De Zonnebloem, DesiYUP, DoelenEnsemble, Eindeloos India, Free Heri Heri for All, Het Indo Café, hiphophuis, Reakt, Pauluskerk, Laurens, House of Knowledge, AfroVibes, Rotterdam Pride, Modular, Roffa Mon Amour, and Rotterdamse Helden, for sparkling public events such as Friday Night LIVE, the Kunsthal Weekend, All you can Art, Artists Talks, See you later, Illustrator, and KunstKoppels. The Kunsthal is extremely grateful for the generous contributions it received from all funds, sponsors, and partners, including the City of Rotterdam, VriendenLoterij, Blockbusterfonds, VSBfonds, Cultuurfonds, Stichting Droom en Daad, nhow hotel Rotterdam, Samsung, Nationale-Nederlanden, vfonds, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, Mastercard, Fonds21, Stichting Zabawas, MediaCenter Rotterdam, Rotterdam Festivals, and Rotterdam Partners.

2024 preview

In 2024, the Kunsthal will once again be presenting a varied and high-contrast exhibition programme, realised in collaboration with its many (inter)national partners. From the largescale yet intimate paintings by Doron Langberg, the provocative installations and sculptures by Sylvie Fleury, to an extensive retrospective of work by the world-famous photographer Richard Avedon in the spring and summer. In the autumn the spotlight will be on the work of Thomas J Price, whose sculpture Moments Contained was unveiled at Rotterdam Central Station last year, and on the exhibition DIVA, celebrating the unparallelled power and boundless creativity of iconic artists who have been challenging the status quo with their bravura and ambition. In addition, we will also be celebrating two anniversaries of Rotterdam institutions, with exhibitions about the Summer Carnival and the creative design bureau 75B.

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