Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What's In a Name?

by Helen Levin

Come the late fall of 2006, this sleepy 17th century Dutch village will see the world’s first museum devoted solely to abstract art and abstract thought as it relates to the arts and sciences, global and corporate stewardship. The Yellow Fellow Foundation is the brainstorm of art collector and business entrepreneur, Jan Verhoeven, and his partner, Menna Kruiswijk, an MBA who shares his abundant enthusiasm and eye for art.

The majority of the work is by abstractionists whom Verhoeven and Kruiswijk feel history and the art market have ignored.

A signifying artist in the collection and for whom the name Yellow Fellow is derived, is Erik van der Grijn ("yellow fellow" is his nickname). Van der Grijn, now residing in Argentina, was picked up by Verhoeven around 1984 in Amsterdam. Van der Grijn had just returned from 20 years of creating and exhibiting muscular, large, abstract paintings for an appreciative, buying public in Dublin.

"Of course the new dictum, ‘It’s art if the artist says it’s art,’ still has to include abstract painting and sculpture. As far as the ‘art object’ being passé, conceptual artists still create art commodities in the form of documentation of their events or work. So, their point about de-materializing art never, ever occurred, despite the predictions. If artists want to add ‘meaning’ as the new value in art, that’s fine–but it doesn’t make the Ab-Ex artist passé. The fact is what moves me personally is a chance to buy the work I love and then to share it. I chose the work by the deep feeling it conveys, not by what the critics had to say."

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