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  • Dutch Artist Lily van der Stokker Opens First U.S. Museum Exhibition in Worcester

    (WORCESTER, Mass., November 4, 2004) - Contemporary Dutch artist Lily van der Stokker has been working in residence at the Worcester Art Museum to create four large-scale wall paintings, her first solo museum project in the United States.

    Van der Stokker's exhibition opens with an artist talk and reception at the Museum, 55 Salisbury St., on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6:30PM The opening event is free for members, $8 nonmembers, and does not require reservations. The exhibition will be on view through Feb. 27, 2005.

    Over the past decade, Van der Stokker has received international attention for her wall paintings, striking for their eruptions of bright colors and playfully subversive, doodle-like imagery. Despite their many stages of planning, room-size scale, and the frequent incorporation of pieces of furniture or boxes built out from the wall, Van der Stokker's paintings retain the appearance of spontaneous sketches. Deliberately optimistic, oftentimes humorous, but never naïve, the paintings often include bits of text-names, factual information, or intimate notations. Not interested in making ironic or cynical comments, Van der Stokker describes her desire to “make things that can be understood by everyone.”

    “Taking on such ‘forbidden’ subjects as happiness, femininity, ornamentation, and pleasure, the artist questions their relation to serious culture today,” said Susan Stoops, curator of contemporary art. “Her paintings present a conscious contrast to contemporary art's frequent detachment from the reality of ordinary people and signal a shift away from the cynicism and irony of art from recent decades.”

    Van der Stokker explains that she would rather make art that instantly appeals “to the heart, not the head.”

    In keeping with her recent work, Van der Stokker's paintings for the Worcester Art Museum touch on familiar themes of family and friends but diverge from previous work by introducing the taboos of money and what she describes as “not so nice” feelings toward others. Phrases of “girlish” hand-written texts proclaim the names of people that she knows, personal statistics, trivial notations, and gossip-like observations.

    Born in 1954 in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, Van der Stokker lives in Amsterdam and New York. She has recently exhibited at the Consortium in Dijon, France (2002), the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany (2003), and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Holland (2004). The Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Arnhem, Holland, featured a survey of her drawings in 2003. A concurrent exhibition of new wall paintings is on view from Oct. 23 - Dec. 11 at Feature, Inc., New York, where she is represented.

    Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund, the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherland-America Foundation, and Worcester Magazine.

    About the Worcester Art Museum
    The Worcester Art Museum, which opened to the public in 1898, is world-renowned for its 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings and new media. The works span 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from ancient Roman mosaics to Colonial silver, Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Dedicated to the promotion of art and art education, the Museum offers a year-round studio art and art appreciation program that enrolls over 6,000 adult and youth students each year. Public tours are offered Saturdays at 11 AM and Sundays at 1 PM, September through May. Audio tours are also available in English and Spanish.

    Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 AM-5 PM, Thursday, 11 AM-8 PM (evening hours sponsored by Commerce Bank), and Saturday, 10 AM-5 PM Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and full-time college students with current ID, and FREE for Members and all youth 17 and under. Admission is also FREE for everyone on Saturday mornings, 10 AM-noon (sponsored by The TJX Companies, Inc. and Massachusetts Electric, a National Grid Company). The Museum is located at 55 Salisbury St., Worcester, Mass., easily accessible from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), Route 290 and Route 9. Free parking is available near entrances on Salisbury, Lancaster and Tuckerman streets. For more information, call (508) 799-4406.