The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is scheduled to reopen its doors in April 2013 following an ambitious 10-year renovation programme. In the build up to its relaunch, the art museum launched Rijks Studio last week - a groundbreaking new digital collection of 125,000 objects from the museum's collection, accessible to all for free. And to celebrate its unveiling, the museum teamed up with Wallpaper* to host a discussion on digital innovation.
Moderated by Wallpaper* editor-in-chief Tony Chambers, the Digital Innovation Think Tank tackled a range of pertinent, digitally-focused issues, including the democratisation of art in virtual realms and the boundary between reproduction and plagiarism.
With the help of Wallpaper*, the Rijksmuseum assembled a stellar panel that included video artist and designer Christian Borstlap; Taco Dibbits, director of the Rijksmuseum Collections; Renny Ramakers of Droog; Robert Norton, co-founder and CEO of s[edition]; Nicolas Roope, founder and creative director of Poke London; Robert Violette, founder of Violette Editions; and Wallpaper* creative director Sarah Douglas.
The Think Tank took place in the newly renovated atrium of the Rijksmuseum - offering a first tantalising glimpse of the museum's new-look interior - and was followed by a reception during which Rijks Studio was officially launched.
In the spirit of art world democratisation, Rijks Studio is inviting members of the public to create their own works of art by downloading images of artworks or details of pieces in the collection and using them in a creative fashion. The high-resolution images of the works can be freely shared, zoomed in on, added to personal 'studios' or manipulated copyright free. Users can reprint entire works or simply details from them.
To mark this new venture, the Rijksmuseum has asked leading international creatives to take one image from its collection and use it to create a new work of art. First up is Dutch design brand Droog, which has created a tattoo inspired by a 17th Century painting in the collection called 'Still Life with Flowers' by Jan Davidsz. de Heem and Rachel Ruysch.
The Rijksmuseum itself has existed for more than 200 years, and has been housed in the current Pierre Cuypers-designed building since 1885. The head architects for the renovation, Seville-based Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz, have been charged with the task of stripping the building of its later additions and restoring Cuypers' clear layout.
The main parts of the renovated building will remain under wraps until next year, with a hotly anticipated Grand Opening party taking place on the evening of Saturday 13 April. The museum will open its doors to the public the following day.