Jacobus Kloppenburg (NL, º1930)

M O D E R N A R T – W H O C A R E S ?

AMSTERDAM 10 may 2008
15 containers with ART destroyed

The work of Jacobus Kloppenburg, Amsterdam1930, was kept hostage by the City of Amsterdam from October 1997 till may 2008, the month the City Council ordered its destruction.

The Artchive for the Future which was Kloppenburg’s major sculptural project, had been forcibly removed from its site on October 1997 under strong international protest from Modern Art authorities lead by Walter Hopps, Founding Director The Menil, Houston TX/ Sen. Curator Guggenheim NY and Hans van der Grinten, Founding Director Museum Schloss Moyland, Germany. 1997, 9th of October: TELEFAX

Just weeks before its planned and publicly announced removal into the collection of Museum Schloss Moyland in Germany, the Artchive for the Future was dismantled carelessly by a professional demolition company and dumped in sea containers. The City had promised the museum to handle the Artchive with “utmost care”

In an official letter from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OC&W), they acknowledge, on the basis of their ICN (Instituut Collectie Nederland) commission of investigation report, the “total loss” of the Artchive.
2005, 3rd of May: Letter from the secretary of O C en W, Medy van der Laan

The City denied responsibility and insisted on being paid for the demolition. Museum Schloss Moyland refused and retreated. The City than kept Kloppenburg’s Artchive for the Future hostage, charged the artist for accumulating storage coasts and threatened with destruction.

Mounting international and national protest resulted in a stay of execution that lasted till May 2008. COMMITTEE OF RECOMMENDATION

The past 8 months there were negotiations as to the future of the Kloppenburg work, which Walter Hopps the famous senior curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York had referred to as a great masterpiece of the 20th century comparable to the Merzbau of Schwitters, even in significance to the work of Joseph Cornell, the latter which Walter Hopps had saved for the Smithsonian, after years of legal and other wrangling.

January 2008 F.I.U. had send a letter of concern to HM Queen Beatrix (17 jan. 08 letter to HM Queen Beatrix) HM handed the letter to The Minister of Interior to deal with. (20 march 2008 Answer from the Minister of Interior)

The destruction was announced as a fait accompli during a Council meeting held to discuss the state of negotiations, which slowly moved out of an impasse created by the refusal of the City of Amsterdam to acknowledge its responsibility – legally or ethically- and in the middle of protracted negotiations and running correspondence between F.I.U. / Amsterdam City officials/ the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, OC&W (28 april 2008 FIU letter to Minister of OC&W ) and followed shortly after a F.I.U. request for an new Investigation under the expertise of foreign institutes.*

The extent and scale of the loss is really catastrophic. Kloppenburg’s most fundamental life work has been destroyed, a complete F.I.U. study course interdisciplinary research. According to official reports: 52.400 kg

Currently F.I.U. Amsterdam is doing everything in its power to save the remaining works.
We appeal to everyone who can, to help and assist with the current work around Kloppenburg and underline the scale and substance of this deadly circumstance for all artists in the world, and most especially for the fate of a city which projects daily such a different cultural image to millions world wide.

Publications, web sites and exhibitions have drawn attention in detail to the life work of the artist. A permanent Kloppenburg exhibition /installation will open at the 29th of November 2008 at the Verbeke Foundation, Belgium


October 14, 1997. Beginning of the forced evacuation.

Just two weeks before the publicly announced transfer of The Artchive for the Future into the collection of Museum Schloss Moyland in Germany where it would find a safe harbour, The Artchive was forced out of the building by the City of Amsterdam. Warnings concerning the threat of great, if not total, damage which could result if not professionally handled, as well as the request for a two week delay by Moyland’s Director Hans van der Grinten, Walter Hopps, The Menil founding director, F.I.U.Amsterdam and others, were left unanswered. The City of Amsterdam promised the court as well as Museum Schloss Moyland that it would carry out the eviction with “utmost care”. This was then entrusted to a professional demolition company, Fa. Schmidt. The result provides confirmation of their specialty.

What was built up most carefully over a period of thirty-five years was destroyed in four days. Thousands of the most fragile artworks were brutally thrown into thirteen containers like rubbish. A full description of the affair and documents can be found in the biographical section. The photo is a double exposure of the eviction. The Artchive for the Future– Trashthetical Litterarture concept, delivered the night before and spread out in The Artchive to seal the work with the author’s own description of it. Composed as a sonnet, it can be seen in the photo as well. Since neither the artist nor the Museum Schloss Moyland was willing to pay the NLG 71, 245.74 demanded for the professional demolition of the Artchive, the City of Amsterdam has kept the artist’s oeuvre hostage, until today, summer 2005, and the artworks are rotting away in the containers.


Artchive for the Future
Opening on the 29th of November 2008