Benefit Evening 2013

On Thursday 10 October 2013, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and De Appel arts centre organized their annual Benefit Evening at restaurant Sea Palace in Amsterdam. This was the third time that a benefit event was jointly organized, making it a one of its kind in the Netherlands.

Defne Ayas, Director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Ann Demeester, Director of de Appel arts centre: “Once again, we brought together the select luminaries of the contemporary art world as to reinforce the tremendous value of our two institutions in maintaining the ecology of culture in the Netherlands. We showed that we are here to lead the way to cultivate long-term patronage in the country; and to prove that channelling private money for public good can be done intelligently and in a unique way. We do all this, not only to fulfill our obligation for private income as public institutions but also to say that we are in this boat altogether. We aim to join forces both in our programs and on a financial level, and hope to strengthen our institutional sustainability with the generous support of all who attended our Benefit Evening. It is wonderful to see that through these private donations, our joint mission to promote inquisitive art, is shared and supported.”

Artist Luc Tuymans and Lex ter Braak, Director at Jan van Eyck opened the evening with a conversation on the importance of contemporary art institutions. The scenography of the evening was provided by artist Gerald van der Kaap, with music by artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh. Following the dinner, choreographer Alexandra Bachzetsis staged the two directors of the institutions in a live performance, combining a video-installation. Bachzetsis’ work was the first work to be auctioned. The auction took place after her performance and was organized in collaboration with auction house Christie’s, Amsterdam. Jop Ubbens, director of Christie’s, was auctioneer of the evening.

Jack Bakker, Defne Ayas, Kees Weeda, Alexandra van Huffelen, Joep van Lieshout and Ann Demeester at the 3rd annual benefit evening of Witte de With and de Appel. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.

Both institutions are thrilled to be able to announce that the evening was a huge success. 180 people attended, and all proceeds will be used towards the future plans of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and de Appel arts centre, who are also supported by the Dutch ministry of Culture, as well as both city councils. For the future of both institutions, the support of private financiers is essential. Private donations make a difference, and contribute greatly to the success and sustainability of both art institutions – as well as for the future of contemporary art in the Netherlands.This year’s benefit auction offered nine objects, eight experiences, and -for the first time- three loans. All artworks were generously donated by 21 artists: Alexandra Bachzetsis, Philip Akkerman, Amie Dicke, Michaël Borremans, Filip Gilissen, Bauke Knottnerus & Claartje Lindhout, Ger van Elk, Jeroen Henneman, Barbara Visser, Erik van Lieshout, Maider López, Puck Verkade, Valérie Mannaerts, Vincent Mentzel, Saskia Noor van Imhoff, Berend Strik, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Jennifer Wen Ma, Susanne Kriemann and Luc Tuymans. The auction was concluded with a spontaneous auction-item by Gerald van der Kaap, who donated a one-hour, private VJ performance.

This was the third time in the history of both institutions that a benefit event was jointly organized. In 2012, the Benefit Evening took place at Joep van Lieshout’s studio in Rotterdam. Besides working on their efforts to secure private funding, Witte de With and de Appel also aim to continue their collaborations in other areas, such as the crash course on contemporary art KUNST NU, offered at de Appel in spring, and throughout the fall at Witte de With. Both institutions also collaborate on the Prize for Young Art Critics.

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