Dutch artist Willem de Rooij is an installation artist most known for exploring ideas of museum and art history by creating exhibitions and installations incorporating the works of other artists, both living and dead.
De Rooij has a fascination with classical painting, in particular romanticized images of animals and nature. In one of his more recent exhibitions, titled Intolerance, De Rooij combined the paintings of 17th-century Dutch painter Melchior d’Hondecoeter – who exclusively painted realistic bird – with Hawaiian feather sculptures from the same era. The collection highlighted the ways that museums acquire and display art, and the nature of public museum collections – while contrasting two very different art styles from a similar time period.
I like the way that De Rooij works, using a curatorial art practice to open a conversation about museums and art institutions in relation to art history. His practice is a very academic one, but for those interested in art history and theory, it has its rewards.