Dutch drive-thru exhibition is a sell-out, social distanced success

Article: David Styles | All images: © Aad Hoogendoorn

A unique exhibition designed to be explored using an electric car has proven a great success with visitors, selling out all pre-booked tickets for its three-week run.

The show, run collaboratively by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Rotterdam Ahoy, enables the public to drive their own or a borrowed electric car through a vast exhibition space containing more than fifty high-profile artworks from the Boijmans collection.

The concept was arrived upon as both sites sought to entice visitors back through their doors while the Dutch government’s 1.5-metre social distancing rules remain in place. Navigating the exhibition by car enables visitors to enjoy the art from a “safe cocoon”, organisers say.

“Covid-19. Ahoy’s halls are empty. The museum is closed. No holidays abroad this summer and Rotterdammers are staying at home. Two of Rotterdam’s cultural icons have come together to create an unforgettable experience, tailored to our current circumstances and open to all: a surprising exhibition of more than fifty artworks from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s internationally renowned collection plus installations by several invited artists,” a joint statement notes.

For those with an electric car, the only necessary preparation is to book a time slot. For those without, Rotterdam-based car dealer Breeman BMW & MINI offers the use of one of their vehicles; users must sign a user agreement and take a test drive prior to gaining approval to enter the exhibition.

A visitors’ gallery has also been installed for anyone who wishes to see the drive thru exhibition without getting behind a steering wheel. This ‘Promenade ticket’ affords people entrance to the gallery, outdoor area of the drive-thru and a café with terrace.

The Boijmans Ahoy Drive-Thru Museum brings together artworks by Ted Noten, Oskar Kokoschka, Bas Jan Ader, Melanie Smith, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Ugo Rondinone, Cyprien Gaillard, Joep van Lieshout, Wieki Somers and Jim Shaw. Installations on the site include pieces by Bas Princen, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Anselm Kiefer, Olaf Nicolai and Marijke van Warmerdam.

The exhibition opened at Rotterdam Ahoy’s 10,000 m² Hall 1 on 1st August and will close this Sunday.