May 30, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Outgoing museum director Andreas Blom remains loyal to Groningen and is wary of floundering.  “You must give space to my successor.”

Outgoing museum director Andreas Blom remains loyal to Groningen and is wary of floundering. “You must give space to my successor.”

According to some, it is rigid, to the point of being boring. According to others, he is the man who made the Groninger Museum Groningen again. On Thursday, Andreas Blom announced his resignation as museum director.

This news came as a surprise to the outside world. Bloom himself is not dramatic about this. “I'm 65 and therefore have to leave in February 2026 anyway. It made me think about leaving a year ahead of schedule. What I've always wanted to experience is the 150th anniversary of the museum and the gallery with Van Gogh. And it's happening.”

The circle has come full circle, says the accompanying press release about his departure. This marks the beginning of his career in the Netherlands, when Blom began working as head of exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1993. He then worked for several years at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne before becoming director in Groningen in 2012.

Of course less controversial

At that time, Kees succeeded Van Twist, a director with a fascination with overseas magic and a reputation for spending money easily. Under Blome, a less controversial path was followed and a stronger relationship with Groningen was chosen. To clarify: In 2013, the museum purchased a painting by Henk Helmantel. Previously this was unthinkable.

In addition to the growing interest in Groningen, the museum has become more public-friendly in recent years. Not only does a shuttle bus run from the surrounding areas to Museum Island, the museum attracts other target groups, but since 2021 there has also been the Children's Biennale, a biennial exhibition by and for children.

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Not everything went smoothly. In 2019, the museum was accused of age discrimination after the forced departure of the museum's teachers. As a director, Bloom also faced a high turnover of curators, always for various reasons, but often surprisingly. Moreover, financial concerns have returned. The museum has a few reserves, just as it did in Van Twist's time.

The low point was the theft of a loaned Van Gogh painting in 2020. The painting has now returned to Groningen and hangs as a crowd attraction at the anniversary exhibition. backstage.

Visitor numbers are good

What remains good is the public interest. Last year, the museum attracted more than 240,000 visitors, including a Rolling Stones exhibition. The best years of Bloom's reign were 2016 (288,000 – David Bowie) and 2019 (324,000 – 25 years of museum building). But the best year in terms of number of visitors is still called Fan Twist: 345 thousand visitors Ilya Repin – Secret of Russia In 2002.

Now that Blom, who was born in Berlin and raised in Bremen, has left, the museum is ready for a new strategy. “It's about the years after I was born, and I don't want to get in the way of that. My successor must be given space.” “Times are tough for museums, and the pressure from outside is great. What I hope for the Groninger Museum is that the status of the museum will be translated into continued support from the municipality and the province.

Maintaining levels is difficult

He says that the latter is not self-evident. “Maintaining the current level is difficult enough. If you want to maintain the level of ambition, for education to continue, and you want people from outside Groningen to come here, it costs money. A statement has to be made about it. Fumbling is not enough.”

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When asked what he would do with himself, Bloom said he had no concrete plans. “Ideas, plans, themes, writing something; anything is possible, but I have no idea. The only thing I know is that I will stay in Groningen. I always used to say that if I left, I wanted to end up at least three hundred kilometers away.” “Otherwise, I will disturb and disturb Khalifa. I will return to that now.”