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Amsterdam museum hosts artistic interpretation of Red Light District

DutchAmsterdam.nl — More than twenty years since its creation, The Hoerengracht makes its first appearance in Amsterdam.


The Hoerengracht functions as a composite street of the city’s Red Light District. Hoerengracht literally means Whores Canal, a pun on the genteel Herengracht (Gentlemens’ Canal).

Hoerengracht exhibition at Amsterdam Historical Museum

Poster for the Hoerengracht Exhibition at Amsterdam Historical Museum

The installation — 13 meters long, 4 meters wide and 3 meters high — was first displayed in Berlin where American artists Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz lived and worked during the 1980s.

The current exhibition is presented by the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

Other artists participating in the exhibition include Marina Ambramovic, Marieken Verheyen, Philippe Vogelenzang and Majid Karrouch, Laurence Aëgerter, Douglas Pérez Castro, Ted Noten, Tess Jungblut, Mada van Gaans, Bas Kosters and …And Beyond.

These artists are, or were, involved in the Red Light Fashion, Red Light Art and Red Light Design initiatives, in which a number of promising Dutch artists were given inexpensive housing, studios and galleries in properties scattered throughout the Red Light District.

These properties were previously used as ‘work rooms’ by prostitutes, and where bought up by the City of Amsterdam as part of Project 1012 — the city’s efforts to clean up and gentrify both the Red Light District and the entire downtown area.

The Hoerengracht installation can be viewed at the Amsterdam Historical Museum from Mar. 20, 2010 through Aug. 29, 2010. Detailsoffsite

Opening of The Hoerengracht exhibition

The Hoerengracht was festively opened in the presence of Nancy Kienholz by journalist Noraly Beijer on Thursday March 18th.

National Gallery

In November 2009 The Hoerengracht was displayed at England’s National Gallery. In the following video curator Colin Wiggins talks about the installation and interviews artist Nancy Kienholz.

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This post was last updated: Oct. 5, 2019