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Sonsbeek: Speculations, Impressions

THIS WAS A SHOW THAT became radical in spite of itself. Rumored to feel cramped by his curatorial situation at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Wim Beeren left in 1970 to take over the organization of the Sonsbeek exhibition, a tri-annual show held in an 18th-century formal park in Arnhem. Like many Europeans, Beeren lacks taste in the sense of fully apprehending the art he is dealing with; but he does sense where the action is. His lack of discrimination, coupled with the desire to make this show an encyclopedia of the most recent art, turned the “Sonsbeek 71” exhibition into an incongruous hodgepodge of quality and schlock.

On arrival in Amsterdam, I expected to find an exhibition ready to open on June 19th. Instead, I found total confusion. The show had obviously gotten out of hand and had become an organizational monster that Beeren and his entire staff were frantically trying to

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