Gemeentemuseum Den Haag receives gift from Bert Kreuk Collection


The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has received a new donation from the Bert Kreuk Collection. The donation consist of two paintings by young American artists Jacob Kassay (b. New York, 1984) and Ned Vena (b. Boston, 1982).

The Gemeentemuseum is delighted to have the opportunity to share this emerging art from the US with the public. The museum has enjoyed a close partnership with the Bert Kreuk Collection for some time now; in 2013 Bert Kreuk was guest curator of the museum’s Transforming the Known exhibition, which featured a selection of works from his own collection. That show likewise included works by many young American artists, such as Theaster Gates, Sterling Ruby and Kaari Upson. Paintings by Dutch and international artists form an important and cohesive part of the Gemeentemuseum’s collections. These two new works are  important within the context of our program and will serve as a critical dialogue for future developments.

Ned Vena uses industrial materials and techniques. Like many young artists, he makes films as well as paintings. Painting means pouring or spraying. But he also uses stencils to reserve areas or patterns in the surface. One of the materials he uses for this is self-adhesive vinyl. He applies vinyl to large industrially produced aluminium honeycomb panels. The patterns, which at first look somewhat confusing, are meticulous deployed in order to explore the limits of his materials. By placing a monotone panel next to the vinyl one, Vena seeks to reveal the relationship between his technique, the basic material and the creative process. This minimalist gesture highlights his elaborate technique on the other panel.

Jacob Kassay’s practice is concerned with experimental and conceptual method and making. Hovering between painting, sculpture and interactive installation, his work is conceived as a response to space. Kassay’s paintings interrelate and form multiple dialogues: with each other, with the space around them and with the viewer. His silver paintings, oscillate between absence and presence, and also seem to exemplify the ideals of composure. Made using an electroplating technique that references early photography, the silver deposited surfaces are like blurry mirrors that reflect the world around them. The light subtly and continuously alter the appearance of the work throughout the day. The language of materials is important to Kassay, who pays great attention to form, surface and physicality. Although lacking marks that could be conceived as gestural, a close inspection of his seemingly blank or monotone paintings reveals traces of their making – small incidental marks, or burnt edges, for example. Jacob Kassay’s practice also encompasses film and sculpture.