Just Different / Exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art (NL)

Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amstelveen NL

Just Different
Exhibition > 21.09 2008

Just Different is the challenging title of an art exhibition about sexual desire, gender and identity construction in the visual arts at the turn of the 21st century.

Disregarding for the moment the heterosexual dominance of much of our daily life, Just different reveals instead alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality and transsexuality.

Hans-Peter Feldmann

Hans-Peter Feldmann
David, 2006
Sculpture, 900 x 200 x 200 cm
© Hans-Peter Feldmann, David, 2006, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2008

In over 100 artworks by some 35 national and international artists, the exhibition gives an impression of the sheer wealth of images yielded by the exploration of sexual identity. Epitomising the exhibition will be the nine-metre high monumental statue of David, in bright pink and canary yellow, by Hans-Peter Feldmann, which will be installed in the square outside the Cobra Museum of Modern Art. It is an iconic piece that symbolizes sexual diversity and freedom, but above all pleasure. It is just different.

The search for sexual identity and the wish to put this into some form or other is inherent to our humanity. It affects us all at various stages in our lives. Artists are no exception. At times their work takes the form of explicitly erotic images, presented with great panache, but equally it can be just an intimate glimpse into the artist’s life: fragile and personal. No matter how important these feelings are, sexual identity has so far rarely been considered as a subject for a museum exhibition – let alone the emancipation of sexual identities that deviate from the ‘normal’. The last time was ten years ago, when the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam put on a show called From the corner of the eye, which coincided with the Gay Games.

The reasons for organising the exhibition Just Different are twofold. Firstly, for some time the museum has wanted to look at sexual desire, gender and identity construction as important themes in art during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In recent decades, visual art has more than once focused on these themes and on developments taking place. Often it was the artists – men and women alike – who were at the forefront of the liberation campaign.

Chi Peng

Chi Peng
Consubstantiality-5 (2003)
Courtesy of the artist
© All rights reserved

Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf
Boy03 suit de serie Rouge (2005)
© Erwin Olaf / Flatland Gallery, Utrecht

Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
Queer (1977)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
© All rights reserved

Hans van Manen

Hans van Manen
Piéta (1994)
Courtesy of the artist
© All rights reserved

A second reason for programming this exhibition is that it fits in with a debate on sexuality and sexual nature that is currently taking place in the Netherlands. As before, with exhibitions such as Brave New World and China Now in 2007, and the solo shows of Rachid Ben Ali and Dolores Zorreguita in 2005, the museum is keen to present itself as a beacon of freedom and tolerance.

Selected artists

Marlene Dumas, Katherina Sieverding, Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, Gilbert & George, Tracey Moffatt, Köken Ergun, Deborah Kass, Del LaGrace Volcano, WolfgangTillmans, Marlene McCarty, Rachid Ben Ali, Hans-Peter Feldman, Bas Meerman, Chi Peng and Risk Hazekamp.

    Just Different at OBA (Amsterdam Public Library)!

In close collaboration with Ihlia-Homodok, the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen is mounting the exhibition Just Different at OBA!

This satellite exhibition is organised in conjunction with the major show of the same title at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen.

Both exhibitions address the topics of sexual desire, gender, and identity construction in the visual arts during the late 20th and early 21st century.

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