Collectors look at a lot of art – and they view it with keen eyes. They make unforced, often idiosyncratic choices. PARTS bases its programming on those individualistic choices and takes collectors’ discoveries, opinions and experiences as the jumping-off points for all its exhibitions.
PARTS is a private initiative. Through its programming, it seeks not only to broaden the Dutch art field but also motivate collectors to share their works and their passion.
Because the Dutch tax office has granted the PARTS Project foundation cultural ANBI (Public Benefit Organisation) status, Dutch taxpayers can deduct donations to PARTS from taxable income or profit. Find out how to support us by making a donation. Read more here about the ANBI information of the PARTS Project foundation.
We are aware that you have confidence in us. We therefore see it as our responsibility to protect your privacy. On this page we will let you know what information we collect and how we can improve your user experience.
Cees van den Burg
Media coverage opening PARTS (Dutch only)
Support Mondriaan Fonds
For it’s programme of 2018-2019 PARTS received a grant from the Mondriaan Fund.
Autumn 2022: the warm, almost springlike air in The Hague feels like a paradox when you see the autumn leaves. Parts Project is hosting its final exhibition with ‘Works and Stories from the Agnes & Frits Becht Collection’. It is in fact the last of a triptych of exhibitions entitled ‘Collecting Collection’. But it also tails the series of exhibitions staged by PARTS since its opening. As of November 7, 2022, PARTS will be closing its doors after six years and 23 projects. Time for a retrospective.
Autumn 2015: The Hague is bubbling and buzzing with ideas about a new art space to be opened soon. There is no definitive name yet, no logo, no exhibition programme. What there is: a good idea from Cees van den Burg and a suitable space on Toussaintkade. And, not insignificant: time and money. After years of quiet reflection and months of concrete preparation, Parts Project opens its doors on March 6, 2016. A space dedicated to exhibiting art from private collections, with the collector’s outlook as the directive principle.
Initiator Van den Burg articulated the motivation for this programming line as follows: “Collectors can make unconstrained choices and allow themselves to be guided by their own taste, feelings and eye. More often than not they are far more decisive than museums or other art institutions, and – by virtue of their networks and budgets – better able than institutions to identify any developments at an early stage. These qualities are put to good use in the programming of PARTS.”
The idea had been smouldering for some time. Being a collector himself, Van den Burg has been asked more than once to exhibit his own collection. But he is not interested, preferring to remain incognito behind the collection, the paintings and the artists. So coming to the fore and exhibiting ‘his’ collection is just not his thing. He would rather join forces and in unison with other collectors realize exhibitions that bring together works from privately owned collections. Hence the name that he came up with: PARTS – a place where separate parts are integrated to make one whole – as happens in a collection.
The opening exhibition was an intuitive duo by Jos van Merendonk and Bob Law, two men with a very consistent oeuvre whose work is but rarely displayed in Dutch galleries or museums. This is the very type of artists that PARTS was happy to offer a platform. And it is precisely the artists who are often ignored in this country who found their way to the exhibitions in the programme, particularly in solos. The work of video artist Peter Bogers was shown in PP04, that by Jaap van den Ende in PP05, Paul Neagu in PP11, Jouke Kleerebezem in PP13, Jan van den Dobbelsteen in PP14 and Werner Cuvelier in PP15. A remarkably high number of men, incidentally.
At all times, the basic principle was the collector’s observant and idiosyncratic view. Programming from such a personal starting point provides a freedom that was fully exploited in PARTS. The exhibitions did not necessarily require a 100% cogent concept, but could equally well be poetic meetings inspired much more by personal combinations than by a sound art-historical or contemporary thematic perspective. That freedom was especially felt in the duo exhibitions, such as the opening exhibition mentioned above; but likewise, for example, in PP07 Jeroen Doorenweerd meets Gutai, PP16 Ewerdt Hilgemann & Diet Sayeler or in a group exhibition like PP19 Meet Me in the Middle. From the first project, brochures were produced to accompany the exhibitions, containing an essay and/or an explanation of the art works.
A major element within the programming concerned exhibitions revolving around the practice of collecting: sometimes by referring to it through specific themes, sometimes by focusing on one collector’s collection. The first exhibition curated around such a theme was PP03 Show me your Vital Parts, in which artist Pim Voorneman staged a production with various artworks and posed the question to what extent context determines how we look at a work of art. PP08 focused on collection lines that may or may not be consciously chosen by a collector. A case in point was Reyn van der Lugt, whose collection contains works that reflect on (art) history and collecting. PP06 made an associative selection from the collection of Piet Cleveringa – a collector who as early as the 1980s compiled exhibitions from his own collection, calling them ‘accents’.
PP21, PP22 and PP23 explored the theme of collecting in depth, but essentially the private collection was looked at in one and the same way. Although the final triptych chose to seek characteristics of the collector, it was art that turned out to be predominant in the exhibitions. And quite rightly so. Gallery owner Kees van Gelder, collector of immaterial art Frits Bergsma and the Agnes & Frits Becht Collection seen through the eyes of their granddaughter. What Van den Burg aimed to pinpoint in his final exhibition was intangible on the one hand, and had already been done in his 20 preceding projects on the other. All the different perspectives of 23 projects have become pieces of a puzzle providing an all but complete picture that has been painted of the collector.
It is true that displaying private collections is not unusual, but programming from the collector’s point of view certainly is. The resulting quirky exhibitions have come to an end now that PARTS has closed its doors. The website continues to exist, however, as an archive for the new perspectives added to the oeuvres, reviews and brochures. With its approach, PARTS occupied a unique position in the Dutch art scene. With Private Art Sharing as its goal, the exhibition programme has managed to lift a corner of the veil of the mystique of the art collection.
Menno Dudok van Heel & Judith de Bruijn (curators)