Many people are not interested in visual art. Statistics show that more then 70 percent of the Dutch population never visits an exhibition or museum. Many of these museums or galleries have modern art: pieces of work in which especially the reality of the artist himself is expressed. The pieces are free experiments of colors, lines and forms and they show a world that is not just as accessible to everybody. What this art expresses, in general is far away from the daily reality of the people: away from their desires, needs and problems. Therefore it is not so surprising that so many people do not want to have to do anything with modern art. They just do not see the use of it. The artistic expression does not fit in with their world of experience and do not give them anything to go on in the daily struggle for life.

The imagining power, which art may emanate, is put on the sidelines in our society. It is put on the sidelines, because the public that becomes involved with art is mainly limited to an intellectual surface of the population. Artists are designated to these art-loving elite, often without choosing for them themselves. In progressive circles people correctly wonder whether modern art is not fully assimilated through the established bourgeois culture and rendered harmless.

The Art-Confrontation Foundation is looking for new areas and possibilities for the sake of a critical use of the visual language. Characteristics from the art, like bringing up for discussion stuck rules and finding alternatives for existing situations, may be applied by everybody and everywhere. The foundation determinedly gives support to transformation processes in the society. It stimulates people to concretize a common wish or demand in the social reality with the aid of own chosen possibilities of expression.

The driving forces in the Art-Confrontation Foundation are Netty Gelijsteen and Rob Schrama. Since its foundation, in the late 70’s, many colorful and effective activities are executed, with local residents, action groups, trade unions, squatters and the peace movement. Rob Schrama and Netty Gelijsteen are invited to academies and universities at home and abroad, to put into practice the method of Art Confrontation.

The next pages shed light on a number of these activities in action and education situations and explain more about the basic principles of art confrontation.

Wall painting in Diemen as a protest against an advancing Amsterdam

Artists in resistance against the construction of a new town hall in Amsterdam