In Fall 2018, the Stedelijk presents a survey of the work of Lily van der Stokker, featuring drawings and wall paintings from the late 1980s to the present.

Lily van der Stokker has developed an extensive and idiosyncratic oeuvre composed of exuberant, decorative drawings and gigantic wall paintings. Her work refers to beauty, friendship and friendliness, as well as everyday chores like house-cleaning, clearing up, and visits to the doctor. Her work makes no attempt at either irony or cynicism.

Often incorporating words and phrases, Van der Stokker’s work is firmly rooted in the tradition of conceptual art. Similar to her conceptual forbears (Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Barry), van der Stokker uses text to explore the essence of art, although as she does so, asks very different questions. Can artists show unsuccessful work? Is it alright for art to be untrue? Or funny and pretty?

I am trying to be a friendly person and my art has to be about that. I like the colors to be bright and cheap looking so that I can combine my conceptualism with pleasure.

(Lily van der Stokker in conversation with John Waters)

Van der Stokker’s visual language of flowers, looping lines, clouds and curlicues in bold, bright colors, could be interpreted as naive and girly. With this, she questions widely-held notions of what constitutes ‘feminine’. Her work can be placed in the tradition of feminist art, which does not conform to prevailing standards of good taste. As such, she often exploits concepts that are ‘banned’ from contemporary art, such as the frivolous and decorative.

Lily van der Stokker (born Den Bosch, 1954, lives and works in Amsterdam and New York) ran a gallery in New York in the 1980s and staged one of her first exhibitions at Museum Fodor, Amsterdam (1991). In the 1990s she received international acclaim with shows at venues such as the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Centre Pompidou, (Paris), Villa Arson, (Nice). Her work has recently been the subject of important solos at Tate St. Ives (2010), New Museum in New York (2013) and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2015). She has also completed several monumental public art projects such as the Celestial Teapot, Hoog Catharijne, Utrecht, (2013) and Pink Building during the World Expo in Hannover (2000).