Stedelijk Studies Journal Issue #11
Revisiting Wim Beeren’s European Utopia:
Wanderlieder Thirty Years Later
by Joanna Mardal
In 1991 the Stedelijk Museum’s director, Wim Beeren, brought together thirteen Western and Eastern European artists in an exhibition titled Wanderlieder. A remarkably ambitious project, it was Beeren’s direct response to the changes that had begun to transform Europe in 1989. In the East of Europe, a series of mostly peaceful revolutions culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communist rule. In the West, an atmosphere of powerful optimism surrounded the formation of the European Union, which promised more prosperity, cooperation, and lasting peace, and which, for some, symbolized an ideological victory over the East. And, with Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalization of the Soviet Union, new diplomatic relationships could continue to be established in the future. Wanderlieder would open on December 8, 1991—just eighteen days before the dissolution of the Soviet Union would bring a definitive end to the Cold War.
Having been appointed director of the Stedelijk in 1985, Beeren first demonstrated a clear interest in the question of Europe when he curated an exhibition titled Correspondence Europe (1986). An important precursor to Wanderlieder, it included new work by artists from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. He also continued to show an intuition for timely political and socially relevant exhibitions. U-ABC (1989) took advantage of improved relationships with South American countries to display work from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, while reforms in the Soviet Union made possible the 1990 exhibition In the USSR and Beyond. This willingness to engage with sociopolitical contexts was one of the defining characteristics of Beeren’s tenure as director of the Stedelijk.
In approaching artists about creating an artwork for Wanderlieder, Beeren encouraged works on a large scale, assigning each artist a museum wall to complete a mural. He felt that the mural as a medium best lent itself to addressing themes that surpassed the individual artist. The mural tends to be an ideologically charged medium. Its history, from socially engaged Mexican murals of the 1930s to vast Soviet propaganda posters, had always been closely intertwined with politics, making it all the more appropriate for such a politically engaged exhibition. Beeren envisioned, in his own words, a “promenade” of artworks: all artists would use their wall to comment on their individual situation, and the visitors strolling through the exhibition would be able to read the entire narrative as it unfolded before them. Perhaps in part due to the scope of Beeren’s ambition, Stedelijk curator Geurt Imanse in 2004 called Wanderlieder a “utopian vision” fed by the optimistic attitudes in Europe at the time.
Wanderlieder resonated with its audience and was extended in light of successful attendance numbers. By the time the exhibition closed on March 1, 1992, it had been seen by over 100,000 visitors. However, it received mixed critical reception in the Dutch press, which noted that a number of Western European artworks failed to live up to the idealistic ideas ingrained in the premise. Since its opening thirty years ago, Wanderlieder has moreover received little scholarly attention. This lack of attention is remarkable, given the exhibition’s socially and politically engaged character, the relevance of which persists to this day—particularly in light of the continuation of the European project. It was representative of Beeren’s interest in integrating current events into the Stedelijk’s exhibition program and also constituted one of the first attempts by a Western European institution to display contemporary Eastern European art.
The 1990s was a decade of revolutionary changes in Europe that continue to resonate today. According to Luuk van Middelaar, “Europe has still not fully absorbed the earthquake of 1989; in fact, we have barely begun to assess its significance.” Beeren found himself at the helm of a leading European cultural institution as Europe itself was plunged into a decade of dramatic change. More than anything, Wanderlieder offers the invaluable opportunity to study a leading Western museum director’s reaction to a turning point in European history. On the occasion of the Stedelijk’s 125th anniversary, this article revisits Wanderlieder and argues that it should be reevaluated as a defining moment in the history of the museum. How can the exhibition be seen within the larger context of post-communism, and how can it be reevaluated today?
In order to understand the situation Beeren aimed to address, it is important to first contextualize the exhibition within the Europe of 1991. In Poland, the trade union Solidarity negotiated the first semi-democratic elections since 1928, securing almost all available seats. In Hungary, following the 1988 removal of General Secretary János Kádár, the communist government had largely begun transforming itself from within. In May, the electric fence separating Hungary from Austria was removed, allowing East Germans to pour into the West in overwhelming numbers. In Czechoslovakia, a series of peaceful demonstrations began building momentum over the course of November and December, in what would come to be known as the Velvet Revolution. In Romania, the (only) violent uprising of 1989 led to the overthrow and execution of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Finally, in the most symbolically resonant event of the year, Germans tore down the Berlin Wall. In popular imagination, the dismantling of this physical border marked the reunification of not only Germany, but also of Europe as a whole.
The idea of a unified Europe acquired a new significance. For decades, many Eastern Europeans had felt severed from Europe “proper.” The fall of communism promised not only a return to their European roots, but also the chance to reassume their place in history. The early 1990s were dominated by a sentiment that historian Tony Judt would later describe as the “theme of ‘returning to Europe.’… The opposite of communism was not ‘capitalism’ but ‘Europe.’” In other words, many in Eastern Europe felt it could finally regain its lost significance. This would have implications that reached farther than the borders of the old Soviet Bloc; the impact would be felt in the West as well. According to Van Middelaar, by the spring of 1989 the West began to realize “that behind the Iron Curtain lived more than 100 million people who regarded themselves as ‘Europeans.’”
Wanderlieder’s Eastern European artists enjoyed a positive reaction from critics. They were generally praised for their enthusiasm and political engagement, and the way in which their work succeeded at addressing Beeren’s exhibition concept. One of the works offering the most poignant commentary on current events was that of Polish artist Zofia Kulik. Her contribution was titled Ulubiona Równowaga (Favorite Balance, 1990, fig. 1). The work consisted of seventy-eight photos repeated multiple times to create patterns of symmetry. These ranged from photos of Kulik’s colleague Zbigniew Libera, who assumed a number of classical poses, to pictures of controversial Polish landmarks: the divisive Palace of Culture and Science, gifted to Poland by the Soviet Union in 1955, and a monument dedicated to the 1939 defenders of the city of Mława. The full effect of the monumental installation could only be seen at a distance, which transformed the photos into a pattern reminiscent of an elaborate Persian carpet. Kulik was particularly interested in how the repetition of a single image can create new, more complex structures, amplifying its power. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of photos of the human figure with the enormous scale of monuments was also a commentary on the individual versus the collective nature of communism. Kulik claimed not to have a concrete message for Europe because she was too preoccupied with developments that had seized Poland.
Similarly preoccupied with events at home was Oleg Tistol, who had previously appeared in In the USSR and Beyond (1990). While in that exhibition he was featured among Soviet artists, the collapse of the USSR now left him simply Ukrainian, an identity he chose to explore further in Wanderlieder. His work, Project of the Battle of Poltawa (1991, fig. 2), references the eighteenth-century defeat of the Swedish king Charles XII at the hands of Russia, resulting in a decline of Sweden’s influence in Europe and the beginning of Russia’s growing dominance. Having taken place on the territory of modern-day Ukraine, the battle is of particular significance to the country’s history. The Cossack hetman Ivan Mazeppa had allied himself with the Swedes in an effort to liberate Ukraine from Russia, and went on to be seen as a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism. Tistol’s decision to depict Mazeppa in the year of the collapse of the Soviet Union was hence loaded with symbolic significance. Tistol opted to render the image in bright yellow and blue, not coincidentally also the national colors of Ukraine. Additionally, he combined oil paint that he had brought from home with Dutch paint provided by the Stedelijk. He created what he saw as an international mixture, evoking the European themes of the exhibition. In fact, he was quoted as saying that he had already regarded these themes as the foundation of his art for many years prior to the show.
The most visually disturbing work included in the exhibition was by Ion Grigorescu, a Romanian artist who had been creating unofficial art in his small Bucharest apartment. With the collapse of Ceaușescu’s regime, the artist, like his country of origin, found himself in a state of transition. He had experienced repression for so long that he was forced to rethink his identity entirely. Grigorescu spent almost three weeks working on his mural, a nightmarish depiction of Romanian society titled Recommendation for Golania (Romania and Holland) (1991, fig. 3). Ceaușescu was a recurring figure in Grigorescu’s work, an image of his palace now towering over the composition in the top left corner. References to the Romanian Orthodox church were present in an image of a crucified Christ and the kiss of Judas. Pieces of sheet metal and plywood placed against the foreground depicted prison guards, two naked men, and a gruesome birth, which doubled as a commentary on the horrifying state of women’s rights under Ceaușescu’s rule. Juxtaposed with this were idealized peasants in traditional dress, a tired cliché of socialist realism. Through the use of such loaded imagery, Grigorescu delivered a remarkably introspective artwork that probed into the symbols of Romania’s recent past.
Similarly to Tselkov, Kulik, and Grigorescu, the artist collective Irwin used its work to negotiate a new identity under post-communism, emphasizing its Slovenian, rather than Yugoslavian, heritage. Although its national identity had always been an important aspect of the collective’s work, this was a particularly appropriate time to draw Europe’s attention to the question of Slovenia. Just a few months earlier, in June 1991, Slovenia had declared independence from Yugoslavia, becoming the first of the Yugoslav republics to do so. In titling the work Golden Age, Irwin was making as a tongue-in-cheek reference to this tumultuous time in Slovenian history. Irwin’s installation centered around a doorway-like structure surrounded by communist signs, like the ones that had only recently featured on the headquarters of the Slovenian Communist Party. In an interesting allusion, Irwin also included a painting of a black cross reminiscent of Kazimir Malevich. Though it may seem remarkable that Slovenian artists would reflect on the legacy of Malevich, Irwin had always been interested in investigating universally powerful images like religious, fascist, and suprematist symbols. Within the context of Wanderlieder, this inclusion comments on the historical Russian avant-garde as shared European heritage.
Although the Eastern European works all delivered the commentary Beeren sought, it is important to note that they did not exude optimism for the future. Their work mostly addressed national and historical themes: Grigorescu depicted a pre-1989 Romania still under Ceaușescu’s rule, Kulik’s collage incorporated recurring images of Soviet monuments, and Irwin presented imagery of communist Slovenia. All of their works seemed firmly rooted in the past. Beeren would comment on this, stating that his impression of the 1991 art world in general was that artists were returning to search for their national identities. He found this slightly regressive, stating: “The idea of Europeanism and Universalism always appealed to me. I now notice a discrepancy between the artistic and the political/economic developments. Even though art used to be far ahead of what is now happening politically and economically!”
Beeren’s statement was perhaps an unfair judgement of Eastern European artists. A concern with national questions was of particular importance in the vacuum left by the USSR. No longer part of the Eastern Bloc, artists from countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia had to navigate their new identity. This was all the more important in recently independent countries like Slovenia or Ukraine. Nevertheless, critics were struck by the pessimistic atmosphere of these Eastern European self-reflections. When Janneke Wesseling confronted Grigorescu about the somber nature of his work, he answered, “Yes, but turn now to the Slovenian or Polish work in the museum, where are their expectations for the future? There is only the weight of the past.”
Grigorescu’s answer best reflected the collective trauma of communism that Beeren, a Western European, seemed to be underestimating. This is a common attitude that was first observed by Boris Groys, who noted that communism is often seen as
… nothing more than an interruption, interval or delay in the continuous “normal” development of Eastern European countries—a delay which, once it was over, left no traces other than a certain appetite to “make up for lost time.” Seen from this perspective, communism appears once again as the spectre of communism, the haunting embodiment of nothing that after its disappearance just evaporated into thin air.
In other words, there is a tendency to perceive communism as a single, finite episode in the history of Eastern Europe. The reality demonstrated in Wanderlieder was much different. Eastern European artists would first have to address their own experience of oppression before they could even begin to consider what Europe could mean for them.
Beeren’s optimism would be further challenged by several Western European participants and their failure to respond to his European theme. Belgian artist Jan Fabre’s installation, Lucky Strike. Sonst nichts (Lucky Strike. Otherwise nothing—or, “nothing else will do,” 1991, fig. 4) was a fourteen-meter-long glass pane, which spanned almost an entire wall of the room. Together with an assistant, Fabre used his fingers to cover the entire surface in the blue ink used in Bic pens. In the middle of the pane was lodged a Lucky Strike ashtray with the titular slogan, which the artist had found in an East German café. This slogan was also the extent of Fabre’s commentary on the future. Speaking about his work in relation to the themes of Wanderlieder, Fabre proved very cynical, stating “No, I don’t believe in tremendous changes in Europe. ‘Luck is the only justice.’” Beeren would go on to state that Fabre’s skepticism and overall disinterest in politics had made cooperating on the exhibition rather difficult.
Fabre would not be the only artist who failed to reflect on the European theme. The English artist duo Gilbert and George made a selection of ten existing photo-based works created in the period 1982–1988 (fig. 5). Four of these had been displayed at a 1989 Anthony d’Offay Gallery exhibition addressing the AIDS crisis. To Beeren’s disappointment, none of the work discussed the question of Europe. Furthermore, Gilbert and George also failed to travel to Amsterdam to complete their work on-site. Instead, their contributions were sent in and installed with the help of assistants. Gilbert and George had never appeared very interested in the question of Europe, and their place in the exhibition hence proved irrelevant. This was best summarized by fellow Wanderlieder participant Ger van Elk, who explained how he eventually came to see Gilbert and George’s role in the exhibition:
Gilbert and George are, to a large extent, imperialists within art politics. The bigger, the more dominant, the more present. That is their trademark and that is what their art is about.… Their art is about manipulation, dominance, and the urge to possess such a museum. And this attitude is naturally very West European.
A similar disinterest was noted from Italian artist Francesco Clemente. Working between New York, Madras, and Rome, he was chosen for Wanderlieder as a representative of the cosmopolitan spirit the organizers were after, and Beeren would even go so far as to describe him as the quintessential “wanderer.” However, this also made him unable to come to Amsterdam. His assistants installed three existing gouaches that sadly neglected to respond to the theme of Wanderlieder. Created on handmade Indian Pondicherry paper and depicting taste, hearing, and sight, they were part of Clemente’s 1991 series The Five Senses. The curators attempted to connect his representation of the senses to themes used in European Renaissance art, emphasizing the Dutch Renaissance to justify Clemente’s place in the exhibition. However, this was clearly of secondary significance; Clemente’s thematic relevance to the Wanderlieder was his cosmopolitan lifestyle rather than his work.
Having ignored Beeren’s request for artworks relating to the theme, Gilbert and George, Clemente, and—to some extent—Fabre, constituted the weakest parts of Wanderlieder. Their participation in the exhibition proved difficult to justify; none had expressed interest in the question of Europe, displaying either indifference, or, in Fabre’s case, skepticism. It became clear that these artists did not feel particularly affected by the events of 1989. Beeren had chosen socially engaged Western artists he was already familiar with, having neglected to consider whether their work had ever really engaged with European themes. This was a significant oversight that weakened his concept, leading to an exhibition that failed to realize Beeren’s ambitious vision.
Ger van Elk was the only Dutch artist participating in Wanderlieder. His installation, created as part of the artist’s Pressure Sandwich series, was made of eight meters of French beechwood and weighed over 1,500 kilograms. Squeezed in between the wood were 150 portrait photos of anonymous individuals. This mass of people evoked the landscape of Europe, in which the individual disappears in a crowd. While Van Elk agreed to create the installation on-site, he had already had the idea for the work before being asked to participate in Wanderlieder. He also proved very cynical when asked about the concept of Wanderlieder as a whole, criticizing what he saw as a tendency towards politically, anthropologically, and sociologically themed exhibitions. In retrospect, it seems that his artistic philosophy was at odds with Beeren’s interest in socially and politically engaged goals, once again calling Beeren’s choice of artists into question.
The non-Eastern European artwork that engaged most strongly with the European theme was Taken to a Point in Time, submitted by American artist Lawrence Weiner (1990, fig. 6). In a letter to Weiner about the exhibition, Beeren wrote, “You, who knows Europe and wander yourself, and who sees the structures and the decline, will undoubtedly react as we hope you will.” Indeed, Weiner seemed to be an excellent example of the kind of titular wanderer that Beeren was searching for. Born in the United States, he traveled extensively and installed his work on the sides of buildings in various European cities. According to the exhibition catalogue, “No artist is more at home in Wanderlieder than he.” Taken to a Point in Time had been previously exhibited in Berlin on the occasion of the collapse of the Wall, lending it additional significance when shown as part of Wanderlieder.
Several critics have identified problems with the choice of the Western European participants of Wanderlieder. Some have even suggested that Beeren’s poor choice of artists had proven detrimental to the success of his project, contributing to the lack of attention that Wanderlieder would receive over the years to come. In order to reevaluate Wanderlieder, it is important to pose the question why the Western attitude had been so dismissive of Europe at the time. Few in Western Europe at the time would have noticed any difference caused by the new political reality. However, according to Boris Groys, the events of 1989 affected not only the Eastern Bloc, but also Western European countries. Although Western Europeans had never experienced life under communism directly, the entire world was now effectively post-communist. While the idea of a transitioning, post-communist Eastern Europe was widely accepted, the West was not yet ready to reflect critically on how it was undergoing a post-communist transformation itself.
Because of this, Europe—particularly European reunification and the fate of its Eastern half—was of much less significance in the West in 1991. Although the continent was being transformed, this transformation was not always characterized by feelings of coming together. Rather, there was a prevalent sense of the East finally rejoining—and hence catching up to—the West. In light of this, it is logical that most Western artists would not have felt as inspired by Beeren’s European theme. The revolutions of 1989 must have felt far removed from their own English, French, or Belgian concerns. Their disinterested attitude was in fact symptomatic of their privileged status as Western Europeans. This continues to be the case today; the idea of the “former East” is widely accepted, but a “former West” remains unaddressed.
Wanderlieder becomes all the more interesting when analyzed in retrospect, particularly with regards to Beeren’s utopian vision of the future of Europe. The premise of Wanderlieder reflected a great deal of the optimistic nature of the early 1990s. The future of Europe, as envisioned by Beeren, was one of mutual contact and cultural exchange; what Cold War animosities still remained would soon be resolved and Western and Eastern Europe would come together as one united continent. However, in retrospect, Beeren’s Europe would prove to be nothing short of a utopian vision. The realities of the aftermath of the Cold War prevented his ambitious vision from being realized. Most of the Western artists revealed themselves to be unconcerned with Europe, reflecting the dominant attitudes at the time. Furthermore, Beeren selected internationally well-known artists who did not have the time or the motivation to reflect on the context of the exhibition. The Eastern European participants, on the other hand, could not afford the luxury of ignoring the changes occurring across Europe. Their countries were being affected in direct, tangible ways, particularly in their transitions from planned economies to the free market. At the same time, however, they were still processing their shared communist trauma, turning instead to the past.
Curator Geurt Imanse would later reflect on the exhibition in a 2004 article, written in the year that eight former Eastern Bloc countries joined the European Union, writing:
Who could have described my surprise [when] the Dutch print media began to report on the concerns our government officials had about what the arrival of the “new” EU countries might mean for our economy. I don’t believe that anyone was all that upset about a flood of cheap labor from Malta or Cyprus, two of the “new” EU lands, but primarily about that coming from Central and Eastern Europe.… I was also pretty well cured of the euphoria about a reunited Europe, in view of the still overwhelmingly conservative (and sometimes downright nationalistic) tinge of the governments that were ultimately running the show in the countries of the former Eastern bloc…
Having initially shared Wim Beeren’s hopes for a New Europe, Imanse was disappointed by the pervading divide between East and West. Sixteen years after Imanse’s article, Wim Beeren’s European utopia feels more distant than ever. Britain made its exit from the EU on February 1, 2020, while the new wave of right-wing nationalism sweeping the continent appears even more empowered than it was in 2004. The initial optimism—and the disillusionment that followed—was best summarized by Judt, who wrote, “Such euro-dreams were harbingers of disappointments to come. But few saw this at the time.” Although Wanderlieder set out to celebrate a united Europe in 1991, its ambitions still remain to be realized.
Wanderlieder proved to be a premature exhibition, taking place too soon after the Cold War to allow for enough reflection on what the future of Europe could mean. It would also have benefitted from a more critical perspective that would have allowed the Stedelijk to reflect on itself as a Western institution representing the East. However, it is equally important to recognize that the exhibition was symptomatic of the sociopolitical climate of the early 1990s and that its significance rests with the specific historical moment it addressed. Beeren correctly realized that Europe was undergoing a fundamental transformation, and Wanderlieder offers the opportunity to study a museum director’s response to a major historical and political shift. It remains relevant today, particularly in light of the enduring effects of post-communism, as well as the continuation of the European project. As such, it is imperative that it is not forgotten.
Joanna Mardal is a PhD candidate at the University of Utrecht. Her current project focuses on the question of identity in the work of contemporary Balkan artists. Her other research interests include Eastern European art, the relationship between the West and the East, post-communism, and exhibition history.
 This article is based on “Dissidents and Wanderers: Wim Beeren’s Exhibitions of Eastern European art at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam,” written under the supervision of Dr. Sjoukje van der Meulen (master’s thesis, Utrecht University, 2020). The thesis was submitted as part of the graduation requirements for the completion of the research master’s program in art history and can be accessed through DSpace.
 The exhibition could be seen between December 8, 1991 and March 1, 1992.
 The Maastricht Treaty was signed on February 7, 1992, two months after the opening of Wanderlieder, and laid the foundation of the European Union.
 The participants were Jan Vercruysse (Belgium), Thomas Schütte (Germany), Jean-Charles Blais (France), Georges Rousse (France), Remo Salvadori (Italy), Francisco Leiro (Spain), Susana Solano (Spain), Richard Deacon (United Kingdom), Jeffrey Dennis (United Kingdom), and Julian Opie (United Kingdom).
 Gorbachev’s policy of “glasnost” encouraged the Soviet public to once again engage in discussions of social issues. However, this also implied the relaxing of censorship and was accompanied by the opening of artistic clubs, societies, salons, and galleries, as well as new possibilities for foreign visitors to see or purchase contemporary Soviet art. Hence it became possible for Stedelijk curators to visit the Soviet Union and lend artworks for the exhibition.
 Renée Steenbergen, “Het veranderd Europa op de museummuren,” NRC Handelsblad, December 5, 1991. Delpher.
 Geurt Imanse, “Time and Again,” in Who If Not We Should at Least Imagine the Future of All of This?, eds. Maria Hlavajova and Jill Winder (Amsterdam: Artimo, 2004), 47.
 Wim Beeren to the contributing artists of Wanderlieder, March 16, 1992, Wanderlieder archive, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Archive VN 2914, Amsterdam.
 See Raluca Voinea, “Geographically Defined Exhibitions: The Balkans, Between Eastern Europe and the New Europe,” which mentions Europa, Europa: A Hundred Years of the Avant-Garde in Central and Eastern Europe (Bonn: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, 1994); Dunja Blažević, Lóránd Hegyi, and Bojana Pejić, Aspects/Positions: 50 Years of Art in Central Europe, 1949–1999 (Vienna: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 1999); and Bojana Pejić, ed., After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1999). The chronology of these early projects reveals that Beeren was remarkably early in bringing contemporary Eastern European art to Western Europe.
 Luuk van Middelaar, The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union, trans. Liz Waters (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013), 181.
 Tony Judt, Postwar (London: Vintage, 2005), 585–633.
 Ibid., 630.
 Van Middelaar, The Passage to Europe, 187.
 See, for example, Wierd Duk, “Westerse kunstenaars sturen Wim Beeren ‘t bos in op Wanderlieder,” Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, December 13, 1991; Wim van Sinderen, “Wanderlieder (ieder zingt zijn eigen lied),” Het Parool, December 7, 1991; and Walter Barten, “Wanderlieder inspireert Oosteuropeanen het meest,” Het Financieel Dagblad, December 28, 1991.
 Wim Beeren, “Wanderlieder: een gesprek met Wim Beeren,” interview by Maarten Bertheux and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum Bulletin (December 1991–January 1992): 106.
 Paul Robert Magocsi, A History of Ukraine (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 245.
 Rudie Kagie, “Wanderlieder aan de wand: ‘Eigenlijk is dit kunst op bestelling,’” Wanderlieder, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1991).
 “Ion Grigorescu,” Wanderlieder, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1991), 46.
 Such religious imagery reflected the artist’s interest in Orthodox iconography. Struggling to make ends meet as an artist, Grigorescu found additional income by restoring frescoes in churches and monasteries as early as 1980. He has since reflected on the experience and its impact on his art, stating: “In the beginning the restoration work was mostly about money. Then I became interested in the images, the pictorial language.” For more on Grigorescu’s relationship with religious iconography, see Anders Kreuger, “Ion Grigorescu: My Vocation Is Classical, Even Bucolic,” Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry 41 (Spring/Summer 2016): 22–37.
 Although the Stedelijk offered each artist the option to work on removable panels, which would allow them to later dismantle their work and take it home, Grigorescu turned down this offer and painted directly onto the museum walls. Following the closing of the exhibition, his mural was once again covered with white paint. This was a conscious decision on Grigorescu’s part, as he wanted to give the work a temporary character.
 Irwin’s finished work differed significantly from the initial plans they had sent to the museum. Their first proposal included a large curved wall on which would be hung paintings and a number of mounted animal trophies. However, the concept was scrapped when the museum requested an installation for one wall only—a demand that was not extended to Gilbert and George, who used all four walls of their room.
 Originating from the military formation “vanguard,” the term “avant-garde” has come to denote art that is radical, experimental, as well as socially and politically progressive. The movement referred to here is the avant-garde art that centered around the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union from approximately the 1890s to the 1930s.
 Beeren, “Wanderlieder: een gesprek met Wim Beeren,” 107.
 Janneke Wesseling, “Wij zijn te oud voor Europa,” Het NRC Handelsblad, December 13, 1991. Delpher.
 Boris Groys, “The Post-Communist Condition,” in Who If Not We Should at Least Imagine the Future of All of This? 7 Episodes on (Ex)changing Europe, eds. Maria Hlavajova and Jill Winder (Amsterdam: Artimo, 2004), 164.
 Janet Koplos, “Of Walls and Wandering,” Art in America 80, no. 7 (July 1992): 85.
 “Jan Fabre,” Wanderlieder, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1991), 38.
 Steenbergen, “Het veranderd Europa op de museummuren.”
 These included Day and Night (1982), Existence (1984), Failures (1984), You (1986), There (1987), A.D. (1987), Flow (1988), Wrong (1988), One World (1988), and Leafage (1988).
 Rini Dippel, “Gilbert and George,” November 22, 1991, Wanderlieder archive, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Archive VN 2911, Amsterdam.
 Kagie, “Wanderlieder aan de wand.”
 “Francesco Clemente,” Wanderlieder, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1991), 26.
 Kagie, “Wanderlieder aan de wand.”
 Wim Beeren to Lawrence Weiner, November 29, 1991, Wanderlieder archive, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Archive VN 2916, Amsterdam.
 “Lawrence Weiner,” Wanderlieder, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1991), 74.
 This took place earlier in 1990 at the gallery Anselm Dreher in Berlin.
 See, for example, Dolf Welling, “Kunstenaars lopen uit de pas op ‘Wanderlieder,’” Trouw, December 31, 1991; Mariëtte Haveman, “Het kamerbrede ochtendgloren van het nieuwe Europa,” De Volkskrant, January 10, 1992; Wim van Sinderen, “Wanderlieder (ieder zingt zijn eigen lied),” Het Parool, December 7, 1991; and Wierd Duk, ‘Westerse kunstenaars sturen Wim Beeren ‘t bos in op Wanderlieder’, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, December 13, 1991.
 Groys, “The Post-Communist Condition,” 164.
 See Maria Hlavajova and Simon Sheikh, eds., Former West: Art and the Contemporary after 1989 (Cambridge, MA, and London: The MIT Press, 2016).
 These included the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
 Imanse, “Time and Again,” 50–51.
 Judt, Postwar, 631.
Joanna Mardal, ”Revisiting Wim Beeren’s European Utopia: Wanderlieder Thirty Years Later” Stedelijk Studies Journal 11 (2022). DOI: 10.54533/StedStud.vol011.art04. This contribution is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.
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