The Power of Imagination

The Stedelijk Museum celebrates the creative fervor of one of Amsterdam's most incredible seasons, the late 1960s

  • The Power of Imagination
  • The Power of Imagination
  • The Power of Imagination
  • The Power of Imagination

In 1967 the Beatles published the Magical Mystery Tour, and in Amsterdam the Provo movement dubbed the Dutch city "Magical Center Amsterdam". Where was the magic? Perhaps in the power of imagination, which invented new ways and spaces to say things in a different way, with the aim of changing the world.
In the late 1960s, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam began to bring together what was left of the energy brought to the streets by a new category of young artists whose ‘experimental’ lifestyles were themselves veritable works of art.
The Magic Center, an exhibition currently on display at the Stedelijk, summarizes the energy of the years between 1967 and 1970, when the city became one of the most fertile and vibant crossroads of that new generation of artists. 
Curated by Bart Guldemold, the exhibition collects 250 works and objects and 100 reproductions collected from the museum’s permanent collection, from the Rijksmuseum and from the Institute of Social History, Sound and Vision. The common thread is irony, which brings together the contradictions of that era, expressed through the posters by Daniel Buren, which were among the first examples of street art, the performances of Wim T. Schipper, who put together an improbable Christmas tree in Leidseplain, one of the central squares of the city, in the middle of summer. 
Sunny Imploo was yet another invention of that time: a luminous sphere inside which you could stick your head to enjoy a supposedly relaxing effect. According to authors Louis van Gasteren and Fred Wessels, it should have been made available for everyone at every street corner, but it never actually left the museum. 
50 years later, these seemingly bizarre works still manage to bring back the emotional clock to a moment in history when cultural revolution was a daily affair and female artists began to play a decisive role.
Among the hundreds of works and icons belonging to that time, including many independent magazines, the exhibition presents some original materials from the Bed-in for Peace project by John Lennon and Yoko Onothat happened at the Amsterdam Hilton in 1969. And as Amsterdam rediscovers its central role in the artistic ferment of the late 1960s, on the red brick façade of one of Stedelijk's warehouses the largest mural ever made by Keith Haring in Europe (1986, 12 by 15 meters)comes back to life thanks to the intervention of various artists and foundations. The work depicts  a man riding a sea animal with a dog's head and it can be seen from Willem De Zwijgerlaan Street.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Amsterdam  | Stedelijk Museum  | Keith Haring  | 1960s  |

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