Netherlands

Suppressing the Extreme-Right: Mark Manders as Unifier of the Dutch Cultural Elite

In the period 2010-2012 the Dutch xenophobic extreme-right Freedom Party was part of the Dutch government, branding contemporary art as “propaganda of the left.” Last year’s contribution of the Netherlands was an attempt by design-curator Guus Beumer at a multidisciplinary celebration of the Dutch “creative industry” in defense of the extreme-right budget cuts in the Dutch cultural infrastructure. Beumer’s exhibition was severely criticized as a typical excess of non-communicative subsidized art. In the light of a new liberal-conservative government, which maintains the budget cuts in art initiated by the extreme-right, the cultural sector once again is faced with the task of convincing politics of its value for society. From a pavilion of creative industry, presented as an exploration of a multi-layered collective work of art in 2011, we move to a solo exhibition curated by Lorenzo Benedetti of the explicitly non-political sculptor Mark Manders, long established as part of the cultural canon. An artist celebrated for his craftsmanship, commercial entrepreneurism and poetic construction. In other words: an artist with no enemies, suitable to facilitate each and every political agenda. Manders is thus the perfect instrument for the Dutch cultural sector in demise to regain its respect from politics. How else can we perceive this solo exhibition than as a tool to re-establish the authority of the Dutch cultural elite?

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Mondriaan Fund
Artist:
Mark Manders
Curator:
Lorenzo Benedetti
Budget provided by the state:
€450,000
Open Call?
Yes
Selection procedure:
Curator selected by jury

Curator

Name:
Lorenzo Benedetti
Gender:
Male
Born:
Italy, 1972
Lives and works in:
The Netherlands
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Mark Manders
Gender:
Male
Born:
The Netherlands, 1968
Lives and works in:
The Netherlands
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
3
Represented by galleries in:
Antwerp and New York

Politics & Economics

State System:
Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Ruling Political Party:
Neo-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in coalition with the centre-left Labour Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
16,693,074
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$50,085
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
4.4% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$6,324,150,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$9,839,000,000

Alliances


Coalition of the Willing
International Criminal Court recognized
NATO
OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1813 (from France)
Last Major Border Revision:
1830 (secession of Belgium)
Colonial History:
Former colonial power
Former Colonies:
Indonesia, Surinam, South Africa and the Southern Caribs. Currently, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are constituent countries with considerable autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are special municipalities of the Netherlands
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
106
Nuclear Force?
No