View of the Richard Kostelanetz Bookstore at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, 2011. Courtesy Kunstverein
Kunstverein is a curatorial office, domestic franchise, and impress that offers performances, lectures, screenings, touring exhibitions, and specialty publishing. Its alternative model is a creative hijacking of the German Kunstverein or “Art Society” that entails building up and working with an engaged audience.
Kunstverein was founded in Amsterdam in September 2009, with a one-year trial period to test the viability of a member-based model for contemporary art projects. In November 2009, a Kunstverein was launched in New York, and in November 2010, Kunstverein Milano was established. Each Kunstverein has developed its own operating structure to meet local needs and conditions.
In Amsterdam, Kunstverein began in a nineteenth-century private apartment. Having ascended five flights of stairs, visitors entered into an intimate salon setting that articulated the space as a meeting place. In 2010, Kunstverein Amsterdam relocated to a storefront space, where an exploration of the edges between private, public, commercial, and display space continued via a series of investigations into the form of the “survey-shop.”
In addition, Kunstverein houses its own line of publications, including the in-house magazine Ginger&Piss. Under Kunstverein’s broader framework of “necessity” and “urgency,” publications are only produced when a felt need is encountered.