A Drive-Thru Art Exhibition With Works by Bas Jan Ader and Paul McCarthy

A mock-up of "Boijmans Ahoy Drive-Thru Museum." Courtesy of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Rotterdam Ahoy.

Rotterdam Ahoy and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen are joining forces to create a unique corona-proof plan during this exceptional period. Ahoy is providing the venue and Boijmans is furnishing the artworks to create an extraordinary experience, a first for Rotterdam and the world. 750 visitors per day will ride in electric cars through the 10,000 m2 events hall, where more than forty works from the collection will be displayed. A totally new experience.

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that a city without a cultural life is as dead as a dodo: silent theatres, no performing arts, no gallery openings, festivals a fading memory. Our cultural life is currently taking place at home and on the screens of our various devices.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has now been in ‘lockdown’ for over a year and has been exploring a variety of ways to connect with its public through exhibitions at neighbouring venues and abroad, and projects in schools. This challenge has become even greater since the emergence of COVID-19. Rotterdam, a city that usually prides itself on its thriving cultural life, is longing for a new start.

“We are extremely excited that everyone in the museum has endorsed this plan and that we have been able to realise such a beautiful project in partnership with Ahoy within such a short time, with funds that have been raised extremely quickly from foundations and sponsors. We look forward to this event that promises action and contemplation, excitement and amazement,” said Sjarel Ex, Director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Jolanda Jansen, General Director of Rotterdam Ahoy says, “We are living in a distressing time but also one that demands inventive solutions. It is wonderful to see how this unique idea and partnership has come about. Through the creativity and determination of both organisations and our many supportive partners, next month we will offer the public a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

A space the size of almost one and a half football pitches, the artworks will be arranged as if on a track. The dimly lit hall will be illuminated by the headlights of the cars driving through it at a walking pace. Visitors will experience the drive-thru exhibition from their own cocoon in the car, strangely enough, the means of transport in which people now feel safest. The exhibition has a fun form but a serious undertone. Nature has presented us with a wake-up call without equal, caused by a microscopic virus for which there is no vaccine that has spread fear across the globe. But it also gives us pause for thought, to reconsider the way we live, and to search for the reset button. New insights are emerging.

The exhibition deals with man’s complex relationship with nature: an interweaving of mutual vulnerability. We are presenting artworks in a period in which our social interactions are completely altered, in a total experience with man and machine. The exhibition is based on an idea of Ted Noten.

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