Individual Project

Diversity, Criticism & the closure of SMBA

SMBA, Rozenstraat 59, Amsterdam (NL)

Jack Segbars is one of the panelists during this debate organized by Kunstlicht regarding the formation and re-formation of art spaces in Amsterdam.

The discontinuation of SMBA—in its current form—is an occurrence that Kunstlicht believes should be marked more resoundingly. With this moment approaching, the editorial board of the journal seeks to publicly evaluate the closure and its impact, against the backdrop of recent changes in the art field of the Netherlands. These changes will be explored in the upcoming Kunstlicht issue that focuses on a temporary subsidy programme of the Dutch Ministry of Culture (OCW). The programme is called The Art of Impact and aims to reframe the arts as a productive field that is well suited to contribute to solutions for societal issues. Simultaneously, art as a territory for critique is being marginalized in the context of a city that is transforming along the lines of profit.

While maintaining a position outside the structures of the Stedelijk itself, Kunstlicht is hoping to instigate a constructive debate regarding the formation and re-formation of art spaces in Amsterdam. How could a successor of SMBA deliver greater impact, and why should the current institute be closed down? We also want to consider the closure of SMBA as an instance to raise questions that concern the presence of diversity and criticism in the art world and in society at large—to once more reflect on the role SMBA has played in this constellation, to appraise what is at stake in its closure, and to consider what may yet be possible for SMBA’s next chapter.