When it comes to the work of both acclaimed and emerging artists, Wanrooij Gallery is a great place to stop. The contemporary art gallery on the Stadhouderskade has been one of the frontrunners in contemporary art since more than 15 years. Owner Martijn Wanrooij (43) has always valued the experience of both artists as well as viewers. And starting this November, Wanrooij is taking his artistic visions one step further, shaking up the way Amsterdam galleries present art.
We meet at the brand new location on the KNSM-Laan. As I am a bit early, I get to peek through the windows. I can tell there is still some construction work going on inside, but I can already see the potential of this enormous space. An impressive 600 square meters, divided over two levels, is being prepared to showcase some thrilling contemporary artworks.
When Martijn Wanrooij arrives, he walks me around the place. As he discusses some last details with the constructor, it is obvious he is a man on a mission. Wanrooij has a clear view of what he wants to present on which floor, and what still needs to be done in order to achieve his artistic goals. We sit down for a conversation in one of the neighboring cafés.
What kind of change are you referring to?
“The art world is rapidly changing, and art galleries should change with it. I don’t believe that the art gallery we know today will still exist in ten years or so. We feel it is important for us as a gallery to lead the way. Our goal is to become an art destination. A place where you can go to and truly have an art experience. A destination with top releases, suitable for locals as well as internationals.”
Can you share some of your plans?
“We are aiming high. It took us a long time to find the perfect location for our plans. We needed a large space, and in an appealing area in the city. We finally found it here on the KSNM-island. At the new location, we have the capacity to present monumental works of art in a spectacular way. More like a museum than a traditional gallery. And we are taking it even further. On the lower level, we are placing a bar in association with Perrier-Jouët. There will be a museum shop, where we will host releases for top artists. On the agenda are also dinner parties for a select audience. All these events will be accompanied by the highest level of contemporary, innovative art forms. The art experience is the most important element, more than the sale of an artwork. People walking out of these events will feel in awe of what they just experienced.”
At the new location, we have the capacity to present monumental works of art in a spectacular way. More like a museum than a traditional gallery
The new location really helps, too. Almost anything is possible here since the regulations are less strict than in the city center. The KNSM-area is a relatively new part of Amsterdam, with lots of innovative projects going on. It is easily accessible by public transportation. The position close to the waterfront is an extra attraction. The look and feel of the area has a bit of that New York-vibe, and the programming of Wanrooij Gallery will play with that feeling.
“We are going to work with large murals inside the gallery space, for instance. Those are not for sale, as they are attached to the walls. Those type of artworks boasts a feeling of creativity, inspiring all of our guests. Wanrooij Gallery will become a destination in its own right, where you can stay as long as you like”.
In his quest for shaping his future visions, Wanrooij is looking for new creative collaborations to support the art experience inside the gallery. His approach is ambitious. He is talking to music labels, fashion brands and companies that associate themselves with artistic experiences. These collaborations will all work towards creating the ultimate goal Wanrooij has set for himself: to be a pioneer in shaping the art world of today, and tomorrow.
Wanrooij Gallery will start its transition from the Stadhouderskade to the KNSM-Laan 301 in November. Keep an eye out for their progress and current program on their website, www.wanrooijgallery.com.