We speak with Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof, director of Amsterdam Art – the non-profit umbrella organization for contemporary visual arts.
Initiating collaborations between various cultural parties and helping to promote Amsterdam’s exhibition programs throughout the year, Amsterdam Art Weekend is a definite helping-hand with putting the city officially on the map for contemporary art. Here, Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof speaks about her love for Amsterdam and why the city is a creative hub for both emerging and established artists.
How did your passion for art begin?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
I have always been fascinated by art ever since I was a kid and even without being aware of what is understood by art. I collected images from magazines to decorate my bedroom, fully covering all walls, no spare space left. At the same time I created dance choreographies, designed costumes, theater props and furniture. I liked to make a whole concept out of it. My parents took me to exhibitions whenever we went on trips and stimulated my imagination by going to opera and ballet performances in places as varied as street corners to beautiful theaters.
You have been quite vocal about creating more visibility for contemporary art in Amsterdam – why is this important to you and how will you go about making it happen?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
Amsterdam is an amazing city for the contemporary arts. On the small surface it has everything to offer: from incubators of the arts (the two top artists’ residencies the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten and De Ateliers), to museums and galleries with exciting experimental programs, forums for debate, and much more. This placed against the backdrop of historical icons in the arts like Rembrandt, Mondriaan, Karel Appel, Berlage and Constant. Thanks to this cultural infrastructure, artists from all over the world started their career in our Dutch capital and from there they went on to tackle the contemporary art world. A combination of free spirit, experimentation, historical roots and a stimulating environment is attractive for everyone involved in the arts. I am happy and proud to be able to show this to a broad, international audience of art lovers and art professionals in collaboration with more than 60 art institutes during Amsterdam Art Weekend. During the Art Weekend the institutes collaborate and present together over 100 programs spread all over the city. By joining forces and networks, and with the support of the City of Amsterdam and our sponsors, we have been able to attract professionals and visitors from all over the world.
Amsterdam appears to have a growing young collectors community – where do you think the surge of new collectors came from and how are they shaping the current art scene in the city?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
Over the past three years many museums and cultural locations started young patron circles – connecting young enthusiastic people who are eager to learn more about art, to see art as a lifestyle in which going to openings and collecting is a part of it, and in many cases to be able to buy. Being a board member of Young Stedelijk (the young patron’s circle of the Stedelijk Museum) I have seen the amount of new collectors increase, and more and more art enthusiasts attending gallery openings and fairs. They also show their engagement in the arts by fulfilling positions in the committees of those circles or by connecting the companies they work for with the arts.
What type of collector does Amsterdam Art Weekend attract?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
Amsterdam is known for being a cradle of young talent. Adventurous collectors with a scouting eye for talent feel in paradise here as there is a lot to discover. That said, many internationally renowned artists their own ties to the city, like Marlene Dumas, Atelier van Lieshout, Isaac Julien, Ryan Gander, Guido van de Werve. Amsterdam is an attractive target for all sorts of collectors from all over the world looking for new work from established international artists, as well as young upcoming artists that have not yet been exposed to the rest of the world.
As well as the fair itself, the “Professional Program” you offer includes tours to project spaces and residency programs – is it important for you to engage collectors and art professionals with emerging artists?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
Of course – it provides visibility to upcoming artists. It also offers them the opportunity to present their work and to build connections between art professionals and emerging talents. The support of professionals and collectors is essential for the development of any artist and it is not uncommon that a strong bond is established between artist and collector if they engaged early in the artist’s career and remain connected throughout the years. Thanks to the “Professional Program”, the Amsterdam Art Weekend has attracted international art professionals who subsequently included works by artists they met here in international shows or in renowned collections.
What advice do you have for any just-starting collectors out there who will be attending Amsterdam Art Weekend?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
Check out our website and social media! Leading up to the Amsterdam Art Weekend you will find tips from art collectors and professionals on how to collect. Also, you’ll find a sneak peek on what will be on show. If you like to get more guidance, we offer curated routes, for example based on medium, themes or, if you want to spend your time efficiently, by city district. If you like to share thoughts and views with likeminded young collectors we offer a half day of guided gallery tours to meet and greet the gallerist and artist, followed by a lecture on collecting.
Are you also a collector? If so, what do you collect?ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
My collection is quite eclectic and reflects in some way who I am. For a while I spent quite some time travelling to Latin America which sparked my interest in the work of young Latin American artists such as Wilfredo Prieto, Tatiana Mesa Pajan and Rodrigo Garcia Dutra. Collaborating intensively with artists like Charlotte Dumas, Natasja Kensmil, Paolo Piscitelli also influenced my way of looking at art. I am happy their work is part of my collection and it is fun to keep track of their work. I also collect tapestries with specific patterns, brought together from different travels.
Amsterdam Art Weekend will take place between 24-27 November 2016.