from 5th March to 22nd May 2016



The Symposium of Everything has finished after touring the Netherlands with talks at Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Hermitage, Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.

This page will eventually feature transcriptions and films of the events. Until then, please click on the titles below for topics and participants.

To keep updated on our exhibitions and activities, please click HERE.

The Symposium of Everything

15 April 2016         The Hospital as a Studio [Part I]

The origins of hospital art and its legacy today.

WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Hans Looijen [Hey Dolyhus Museum]
       Thomas Röske [Prinzhorn Collection]
WHERE  Hermitage Museum [MAP]
       Amstel 51, 1018 EJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

16 + 17 April 2016    The Weekend of Everything

WHEN   11.45am to 12.45pm
WHAT   The Visionary Sparks of Hans Prinzhorn
       The psychiatrist who revolutionised art.
WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Thomas Röske [Prinzhorn Collection]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

WHEN   1.00pm to 3.00pm
WHAT   Artist Talks: I Am Somebody!
       Informal conversations with artists and advocates.
WITH   Ion Bîrlǎdeanu [artist]
       Sophie Bourbonnais [La Fabuloserie]
       James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Deborah Couette [La Fabuloserie]
       Francis Marshall [artist]
       Robert Mitchell [artist]
       Dan Popescu [H’Art Gallery]
       Omara [artist]
       André Robillard [artist]
       Johnson Weree [artist]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

WHEN   3.45pm to 5.00pm
WHAT   Screening: Paradise is a Glass of Water 
       Documentary about artist Marianne Schipaanboord.
WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Iris de Maaker [Atelier de Kaai]
       Hetty Schaart [Atelier de Kaai]
       Fifi Visser [filmmaker]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

WHEN   11.00pm to 5.00pm
WHAT   Screening: The Films of Everything
       A selection of films curated by The Museum of Everything.
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

6 May 2016            Creative Volcanoes in the Sicilian Isles

An illustrated discussion on some of the incredible discoveries in Sicily by two pioneering curators of non academic art.

Throughout Italy, and especially in Sicily, there is an intense history of people making art – not because they have been taught how to do it, but because they are compelled to do so. Their works are documents of existence, statements of intent. Perhaps it is the nature of Sicily, an independent island with centuries of foreign influence, which has fostered so many astonishing artists.

Yet the two people mainly responsible for discovering these artists are Eva di Stefano and Domenico Amoroso.

Stefano is a formally trained academic, a professor of art who has lectured across Italy. Yet her unrestrained passion is the non-professional world and she has established the Observatory of Outsider Art to study and promote it. A natural activist, she brings people from around the world to discover the visual brilliance that lurks within Sicily.

Amoroso is an enthusiast, the ebullient former director of the Museo Civice di Caltagirone where he has permanently displayed many of his local discoveries. Amoroso is someone for whom the promotion of and engagement with non-academic art is a passion, despite the fact that his original training is in architecture.

Together, these two legends of Sicilian outsiderism will outline the historical and contemporary practices, drawing from their own experiences and paying particular attention to the artists in The Museum of Everything show.

WITH   Domenico Amoroso [Musei Civici di Caltagirone]
       James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Eva di Stefano [Osservatorio Outsider Art]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

6 May 2016            The Hospital as Art Studio [Part II]

Vincent van Gogh is one of several historically important artists who have experienced living and working in a psychiatric hospital. Yet art history is often more concerned with individual diagnoses than with whether the changed personal circumstance led to a change in the quality of the artwork itself.

Yayoi Kusama resides voluntarily in a psychiatric facility, yet she is also one of the world’s most powerful and prolific female contemporary artists. Her example illustrates perhaps how art needs to de-stigmatise the hospital and re-classify it as a unique form of atelier: a calm and safe environment for unrestricted creative output and a re-discovery of the artistic process.

The talk will explore these ideas through artists who spent time in care facilities – such as Ernst Josephson, Edward Munch and Louis Wain – and contrast them with classic art brut artists whose practices originated within a hospital setting – like Aloïse Corbaz, Adolf Wolfli and Carlo Zinelli.

Through this wide-ranging overview, the talk aims to liberate Van Gogh and other artists from the myths of madness and form better and more creative connections between his work and the artists in The Museum of Everything.

WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Charlotte Laubard [Head]
       Laura Prins [Van Gogh Museum]
WHERE  Van Gogh Museum [MAP]
       Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

8 May 2016            The Madness of King George Ohr

In the late 19th century in Mississippi, America, a very unusual man started appearing at local county fairs. He had bizarre pointing hairstyles and a giant curling moustache. His name was George Ohr and he called himself an art potter.

Ohr went on to become one of the most celebrated figures of American ceramic sculpture – collected by artists like Jasper Johns and curated in major art shows like the Carnegie International. Yet back in the early 1900s, Ohr could barely make a living selling his mud babies. They – and he – were considered too strange and non-conformist, and the man was barely able to make a living.

Even though Ohr’s work preceded and in many ways anticipated abstraction, he died without recognition – until his work was rediscovered in the 1960s in the family garage. Today he is gaining visibility in the world of contemporary art and even shares a Frank Gehry designed museum in Biloxi with Georgia O’Keeffe.

David Rago from Rago Auctions will be talking about Ohr and his legend, how he created and conceived of his incredible pots and much more. Illustrating his talk will be a cabinet, designed by The Museum of Everything and based on Ohr’s original workshop. The installation features over 50 original works by Ohr, with their incredible glazes and mysterious folding designs.

WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       David Rago [Rago Auctions]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

14 May 2016           A Partial History of Anti-Formality

The Museum of Everything’s founder, James Brett, together with art historian, Professor Jos ten Berge of the University of Amsterdam, will discuss the history of so-called outsiderism in the Netherlands and why, until very recently, it was virtually unknown to the wider Dutch audience.

These two characters from very different sides of the art historical divide will come together to tell the story of when and how non-academic art-making first started to emerge in the Netherlands. During the informal conversation, they ask and answer some of the most fundamental questions, including:

– who were the earliest artists and when were they recognised?
– what were the initial collections and public exhibitions?
– how much did it inspire the artists of the CoBra movement?
– why was it less accepted in the Netherlands than in Europe?

Together they will try to formulate a new argument for inclusion in the 21st century and define a framework to enable museums and wider art organisations to bring this alternative material into the contemporary historical canon.

WITH   Jos ten Berge [Collectie de Stadshof]
       James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
WHERE  Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
       Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

15 May 2016           The End of the Ghetto

The story of exclusion in art and why segregation is no longer an option.

At some point, in every western culture, a division was made between the high and the low. The high was art: commissioned, celebrated and commodified. The low was simply something else.

Today this something else is gradually being accepted as equally creative, resonant and aesthetic as mainstream art. Why then does it remain predominantly in the shadows?

THE END OF THE GHETTO? brings together four expert panelists with radically different practices to discuss what they understand art to be and why most museums revert to the narrow definition.

James Brett is a multidisciplinary practitioner, with a background in filmmaking, design and architecture. He is the founder and creative director of The Museum of Everything whose current exhibition, The Kunsthal of Everything, is on at Kunsthal Rotterdam until Sunday 22 May 2016.

Sarah Lombardi is a curator, writer and art historian, who recently took over as director of the prestigious Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, founded by artist Jean Dubuffet. Their anniversary exhibition is Aux Origines de la Collection, on display until 28 August 2016.

Jean-Hubert Martin is a distinguished museum director, curator and art provocateur, whose groundbreaking exhibition Magiciens de la Terre pioneered the inclusion of alternative art-makers. His current installation is Caramboulages at the Grand Palais until 4 July 2016.

Beatrix Ruf is a contemporary curator and one of the leading voices in international and non-western art, who was formerly director of the Zurich Kunsthalle and is the current director of Stedelijk Museum.

WITH   James Brett [The Museum of Everything]
       Jean-Hubert Martin [Grand Palais]
       Beatrix Ruf [Stedelijk Museum]
       Sarah Lombardi [Collection de l’Art Brut]
WHERE  Stedelijk Museum [MAP]
       Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands


WHERE Kunsthal Rotterdam [MAP]
Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam
WHEN from 5th March to 22nd May 2016
10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday,  11pm to 5pm Sunday
HOW Trams: 7, 8, 20, 25
Metro: Eendrachtsplein, Leuvehaven
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