From 2021 GEM museum of contemporary art in The Hague will be known as KM21. KM refers to Kunstmuseum Den Haag, and 21 to the art of the twenty-first century. The new name will make the museum more clearly recognisable as a partner to Kunstmuseum Den Haag (and its collection), which also encompasses Fotomuseum Den Haag.
“Since it opened in 2002 GEM museum of contemporary art has been part of the same organisation and under the same management, but few make the link between the two museums, and even less so since the ‘mother museum’ changed its name from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to Kunstmuseum Den Haag in October 2019”, explains director Benno Tempel. “That’s a shame, because the link between an institute for contemporary art and an international art museum and its collection is the only one of its kind in the Netherlands. There is no other contemporary art exhibition space with its own programme that is affiliated to a museum with an internationally renowned collection of modern, contemporary and decorative art and photography.”
The name of GEM has been an issue since the very start of the transformation to Kunstmuseum Den Haag. “But changing a name is no trivial matter, let alone changing two”, says Tempel. “Given the scale of the undertaking, we decided to focus first on the transformation and positioning of the Kunstmuseum, and then tackle GEM later. The coronavirus crisis halted the process for a while, but we also learnt something from it: how to increase our online visibility, and share our collection with an even wider audience.”
The introduction of the new name will be accompanied by the launch of a new logo and website (www.km21.nl). The design was created in collaboration with Studio Lennarts & De Bruijn of The Hague. Their energetic and adventurous style is a perfect match for the museum and the art that is shown there.
KM21 (launched in 2002 as GEM museum of contemporary art) is part of Kunstmuseum Den Haag. It has its own curator and programme of exhibitions that follows current developments in the visual arts. Housed in a separate building next to the Kunstmuseum, known as the Schamhart Wing, where Fotomuseum Den Haag is also located, the museum showcases artists from the Netherlands to the world, and international artists to The Hague and the rest of the Netherlands. The visual impact and appeal of its exhibitions inspire visitors to find out more about contemporary art and discover new things, ensuring that they see more.
Prior to 2002 the Schamhart Wing, named after its architect Sjoerd Schamhart, was used as an annex to Kunstmuseum Den Haag. In 1968 it was the venue for the first exhibition of minimal art in Europe, featuring works by artists who would later become highly influential, including Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd. In its time as GEM, the museum has hosted exhibitions of work by a host of leading names, from Raymond Pettibon, Michael Raedecker, Chen Zhen and Daniel Richter in the early years, to Maaike Schoorel, Charles Avery, Folkert de Jong, Shirin Neshat and Helen Dowling more recently. Lisa Brice’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands can be seen there until 5 April 2021.