Constant New Babylon - Madrid

00:03:47 1789 Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
For almost twenty years, Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys worked uninterrupted on his ‘master project’ New Babylon. In this video curator Laura Stamps discusses New Babylon and the collaboration between the Gemeentemuseum The Hague and Reine Sofia Madrid for the exhibition.
Constant Nieuwenhuys

Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys (or Constant for short, 1920 – 2005) was a leading member of the Cobra group but is equally famous for his intriguing New Babylon project, on which he laboured for almost twenty years.

Read more about the artist

For almost twenty years, Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys (Amsterdam, 1920 – Utrecht 2005) worked uninterrupted on his ‘master project’ New Babylon. After a major exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum in 1974 he suddenly decided to draw a line under it.

‘I cannot go any further’, he explained. ‘The project exists.’

He left the majority of the work at the Gemeentemuseum, ‘safely stored for future generations and more favourable times’. Having made a few additional acquisitions in the meantime, the museum now has the world’s largest collection of work from the project.

New Babylon is currently attracting growing attention worldwide, and the Gemeentemuseum felt it was high time for some major international exhibitions. ‘Constant. New Babylon’ was on show at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid from 21 October 2015 to 29 February 2016. It has been created in close collaboration with Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the Netherlands Institute for Art History and Fondation Constant.
From May 28 until 25 September 2016 the exhibition is on show at the Gemeentemuseum where, alongside an exhibition at the Cobra Museum, it will form part of a major retrospective of the work of this highly versatile artist in the Netherlands. In this video curator Laura Stamps discusses New Babylon but also the collaboration between the museums.

Video credits

  • Film by Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia 
  • With special thanks to Mondriaan Fonds and RKD
Buy tickets online