Blues Before Sunrise
Steve McQueen Transforms Vondelpark With Blue Light
The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s contemporary art museum, has invited artist and movie director Steve McQueen to make an urban artwork in the city’s most important park, the Vondelpark. McQueen’s project ‘Blues Before Sunrise’ has become a substantial transformation of the park by night, as McQueen has made all of the 275 street lamps in the park light up blue instead of white. This has transformed the night view of the most famous park of the Netherlands completely.
Lighting is used to dramatically change the environment in this project. The usual warm white light is
The art installation is part of ‘Temporary Stedelijk 3’, a series of temporary performances, events and exhibitions at various places in the city, organized by the Stedelijk Museum. Since the Stedelijk Museum is going through a major renovation process that has been lasting for many years, this program is meant to stay visible in the city. This leads to interesting new exhibition forms.
‘Blues Before Sunrise’ is a good example of a successful temporary art work in public space. All through March everybody walking the park will experience it. The title, ‘Blues Before Sunrise’, comes from a blues standard from 1934 that was written by the American pianist Leroy Carr and performed by American singer and guitarist Scrapper Blackwell. "The soul of this art comes straight from the blues," says McQueen. "The blues grabs you like no other music can."
Ann Goldstein, director of the Stedelijk Museum, explains what the work does to people who might normally not be interested in contemporary installation art: "McQueen's Blues Before Sunrise does not only change our perception of the Vondelpark, it also sets the daily routine of people in a different light and it changes a public place in a beautiful and mysterious experience, which is very present and simultaneously elusive."