Matthew Barney, River of Fundament. Click image for video.

Rene Magritte, Making 'Everyday Objects Shriek
Out Loud'

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 explores the evolution of René Magritte’s work from 1926 to 1938, an innovative period when he developed key strategies and techniques to defamiliarize the familiar — to make, in his words, “everyday objects shriek out loud.” During this time the artist was closely aligned with the Surrealist movement, and his depictions of ordinary objects constituted a new direction in Surrealist art. Bringing together around 80 paintings, collages, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, the exhibition offers fresh insight into the beginnings of Magritte’s extraordinary career as a modern painter and Surrealist artist. In addition to works from MoMA’s collection, the exhibition includes many loans from public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 at is organized by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, with Danielle Johnson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture. The exhibition is organized by MoMA, The Menil Collection, and The Art Institute of Chicago, and travels to The Menil Collection from February 14 to June 1, 2014, and to The Art Institute of Chicago from June 22 to October 12, 2014.

The first-ever concentrated presentation of Magritte's early Surrealist works, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 begins with paintings and collages Magritte created in Brussels in 1926 and 1927, in anticipation of and immediately following his first one-person exhibition at the Galerie Le Centaure, which launched his career as Belgium’s leading Surrealist painter. It follows Magritte to Paris, where he lived from 1927 to 1930 in order to be closer to center of the Surrealist movement, and concludes in 1938, the year Magritte delivered “La Ligne de vie” (“Lifeline”), an important autobiographical lecture that provided an account of his career as a Surrealist.

Like all artists and poets associated with the Surrealist movement, Magritte sought to overthrow what he saw as the oppressive rationalism of bourgeois society. His art during these years is at times violent, frequently disturbing, and often filled with discontinuities. He consistently interrogated conventions of language and visual representation, using methods that included the misnaming of objects, doubling and repetition, mirroring and concealment, and the depiction of visions seen in half-waking states. All are devices that cast doubt on the nature of appearances — within Magritte’s paintings and within reality itself.

Painted for his exhibition at Le Centaure, The Menaced Assassin (1927) is one of Magritte’s largest and most theatrical compositions. The vacantly staring figures and everyday objects, all rendered in Magritte’s flat, deadpan style, underscore what the Belgian abstract artist Pierre Flouquet characterized as the painting’s “banal crime.” In another painting from this period, Magritte depicts his “accomplice,” the Belgian Surrealist poet and leader Paul Nougé. Here two seemingly identical, formally dressed men are partially separated by a fragmented "door.” Through the use of doubling, Magritte challenges the conventional idea that a portrait should represent a singular self or an individual.

These paintings are joined by a group of Magritte's early papiers collés, or collages. Such works include what would become signature motifs fir the artist: bowler hats, theater curtains, and mysterious landscapes. Among them, The Lost Jockey has a singular status; in September 1926, poet Camille Goemans, Magritte's friend and dealer, associated this figure of the mounted jockey "hurtling recklessly into the void" with the artist himself.

Rene Magritte >>

René Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967). La durée poignardée (Time Transfixed). 1938. Oil on canvas. 147 x 99 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Joseph Winterbotham Collection.

Peter Paul Rubens, The Bacchanalia on Andros, not dated, Oil on canvas, 200 x 215 cm, detail.

The Legacy of Peter Paul Rubens and His Heirs
Peter Paul Rubens was the Quentin Tarantino of his day, making Flanders one of the world’s foremost regions for painting. The Flemish master-painter developed his own personal style, crafting scenes that exuded lust and were marked by violence, as well as compassion and elegance. These themes inspired artists all over the world for many centuries to come.

Peter Paul Rubens >>

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968, detail.

The Rich, Religious Culture of Byzantium
Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium, explores the artistic and cultural majesty of the Byzantine Empire. The exhibition features 167 objects, including mosaics, icons, frescoes, sculptures, manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, glass, embroideries, and ceramics, making it the largest and most important collection of Byzantine objects from Greece ever amassed and displayed in Los Angeles.

Art of Byzantium >>

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968, detail.

Christopher Williams, Critiques of Capitalism
The Production Line of Happiness — the first retrospective ever mounted of Christopher Williams (American, b. 1956) — spans the impressive 35-year career of one of the most influential cinephilic artists working in photography. Williams studied at the California Institute of the Arts in the mid to late 1970s under the first wave of West Coast Conceptual artists.

Christopher Williams >>

Jean-Jacques Lebel, Ya bon, Banania, 1990, Assemblage, detail.

Jean Lebel, Insurrection as Political Statement
According to his friend Man Ray, Jean-Jacques Lebel triggered the association Lebel = Rebel in the 1960s. His actions, installations, sculptures, objects, paintings, videos and texts are in explicit rebellion against the terror of war and psychiatry, against the horror of colonialism, against a culture of self-inflicted stupidity and a society characterized by oppression and racism..

Jean-Jacques Lebel >>

Boijmans Takes
an Autumn Look
at the Future
of Fashion

This autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents The Future of Fashion is Now with innovative visions by more than fifty fashion designers from around the world, including established names such as Viktor&Rolf (The Netherlands) and Hussein Chalayan (Cyprus) and emerging talents such as Craig Green (UK) and Rejina Pyo (Korea). Six designers will make new pieces exclusively for the exhibition. You can follow their progress at

The latest generation of designers is actively in search of ways to redefine the concept of fashion. They take a critical look at the current fashion system and the role of clothes in our society. Aware that our consumer society’s demand for new trends every six months is totally unsustainable and given the huge developments in technology and materials, these designers adopt a new approach to what fashion can be. ‘The Future of Fashion is Now’ features futuristic designs that occupy the border between fashion and art.

Visionary design
In addition to clothing and accessories, the exhibition features videos and installations, including the Zen garden setting for Viktor & Rolf’s acclaimed A/W 2013 collection: a plea for a slower pace and more spirituality in the fashion world. Wang Lei (China) makes traditional Chinese costumes from woven toilet paper. Carole Collet (UK) explores sustainable materials in her experiments with lace grown from the roots of strawberry plants. The hand-knitted creations of Pyuupiru (Japan) give the wearer a new identity, freed from the limiting factors of the human body. Technological innovations also offer new possibilities: the jacket from the Wearable Solar Project by Pauline van Dongen (The Netherlands) can recharge a mobile phone.

Over the past few years an international team of fashion experts has been scouting for new talent for the exhibition. A jury that includes fashion duo Viktor&Rolf; editor-in-chief of Dutch Vogue, Karin Swerink; and curator and fashion expert José Teunissen, have awarded the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award to six young designers. Iris van Herpen (The Netherlands), Craig Green (UK), D&K (Ricarda Bigolin & Nella Themelios, Australia), Olek (Poland), Digest Design (China) and Lucia Cuba (Peru) will develop new works that will be shown for the first time in the exhibition.

Publication, Boijmans Tour
The exhibition will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated, glossy publication and a special multimedia tour with commentary from several of the designers featured in the exhibition. Several new fashion videos will be posted on ARTtube during the exhibition and the museum will organise an extensive programme of activities including lectures, workshops and a symposium.

Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge
Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge is an initiative of the writer, patron and art activist Han Nefkens and fashion expert José Teunissen in partnership with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Its mission is to stimulate and support talented fashion designers working on the border between fashion and art. It initiates commissions and supports research into innovation and change in the fashion scene. The Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award gives designers the opportunity to create new works, which are then given on long-term loan to the museum.

Future of Fashion >>

Piyuupiru, Mercury, from the series Planetaria, 2001. Photo: Masayuki Yoshinaga.