The American Folk Art Museum presents Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic from September 5 until December 1, 2014, the first monographic exhibition of works by the internationally acclaimed Dutch artist Willem van Genk (1927-2005) to be presented in the United States. The exhibition includes over forty artworks: panoramic paintings, collages, drawings, personal notes, sculptures of trolleys, and an installation of raincoats (van Genk collected hundreds of raincoats over the course of his lifetime). This comprehensive selection provides an overview of the artist’s oeuvre and insight into his creative processes, methods, and themes. Van Genk’s artworks usually depict intricately layered and densely networked urban panoramas and reference interconnectivity. He was a restless stockpiler of information, factoids, and trivia: from this perspective, the artworks can be seen as “memory palaces”— visualizations implemented to organize and recall information. These imaginary landscapes serve as sophisticated devices and scaffolds to map hidden forces, since the artist believed that all things were connected via both visible and invisible networks.
The exhibition is co-organized by Dr. Valérie Rousseau, curator, art of the self-taught and art brut, American Folk Art Museum, and Patrick Allegaert and Yoon Hee Lamot, both curators at Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, Belgium. All of the works on view are drawn from the Willem van Genk Foundation, which retained the largest body of the artist’s work, the De Stadshof Collection, and the Museum Dr. Guislain, which manages both of these collections.