Annie Fletcher the Exhibitions Curator of Vanabbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands delivered a lecture:“The Museum and its Uses: Deploying the Vanabbe Museum” at the EMMA(Espoo Museum of Modern Art) Espoo on 20th March 2013. The lecture was also part of the CUMMA Discourse series #7. CuMMA (Curating, Managing and Mediating Art) is a multidisciplinary Master’s degree program at Aalto University ARTS focused on contemporary art.

Annie talked about a wide range of issues concerning the Vanabbe Museum, for example: starting from its history, context in Eindhoven, changing roles of the curator, transparency in operations and entangling(entanglement) the new architectural spaces in conjunction with the somewhat international collections.

Firstly, how to approach the split in physicality of the museum, the split between the old building and the new extension. How to assign the museum’s collection to the various spaces? The Plug-in Approach! An interesting proposal where every space becomes the setting for its own particular narrative and art pieces…in essence the museum becomes an idiosyncratic collection of narratives and an entanglement of stories! Vanabbe has also experimented with algorithms in creating exhibitions in the various spaces which resulted in a plurality of ways to represent art where every space becomes a different narrative and experience……..Heterotopia!

Annie also brings up several questions related to the museum field: Who are we collecting for? How do we make identity? Should it be autonomous objects vs autonomous experience? What are the changes in the roles of the curator and the museum? Narrative time vs everyday time? original vs copy? Artwork vs commodity?  And finally, why are we trying to convert the museum?

She also talked about the process of branding the Vanabbe Museum, by creating a game plan called “Play Van Abbe”.  Here the museum investigated the various roles and objectives: 1. Game and the main players 2. Time machines (the museum in time) 3. The politics of collecting, the collecting of politics, and then also about its audience: 4. the pilgrim, the tourist, the flaneur, and the worker. The plan also tried to visualize its visitors, collections and the workings of the museum.Through this gameplan the Vanabbe was able to find itself and locate itself in context of the local community and also internationally.

Annie finally described in detail the successful Picasso in Palestine project. This apparently took place as a result of the Museum’s introspection about actively lending collections. Should we actively lend out instead of waiting for requests? Should the museum lend out more often to the have-nots and the deprived regions of the world? Are we pursuing a segregationist policy when we always define and choose as to which museum we are lending to? The Picasso in Palestine project involved lending a valuable artwork, an original painting: “Buste de Femme” (1943) by Pablo Picasso to the International Art Academy Palestine (IAAP) based in Ramallah in 2011. See more of “Picasso in Palestine”: