“THREE ARTISTS WALK INTO A BAR...”  is a multi-site exhibition with ongoing and time-located artworks spread throughout different physical and non-physical sites.

Curated by The Black Swan – participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme 2011/2012
Dates: 13 April – 12 May 2012
Where can I see it: various locations in Amsterdam, such as Het Veem Theatre, Salto – Public Broadcast TV, de Appel Boys’ School and internet, amongst others

The exhibition has left the building.

The Boys’ School will be closed, except for Saturdays, which will be full of activities!

Launch of the exhibition (A Bar Cycles into a Street): Friday 13 April, departures from 6pm onwards. Meeting point: de Appel Boys’ School. Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 59 (entrance: Ferdinand Bolstraat)
Saturdays at the Boys’ School: 14/21/28 April and 5 May, 3–10pm, de Appel Boys’ School
— Evening of performances in Het Veem Theater: Sunday 15 April, 5–8.45pm
Closing event: Saturday 12 May, 610pm, de Appel Boys’ School

First it was a joke. Then an open invitation. Now we bring you: “Three Artists Walk into a Bar...”

The Black Swan collective (De Appel Curatorial Programme 2011/2012) is proud to present “THREE ARTISTS WALK INTO A BAR...”, a series of works and interventions that take place outside of the premises of the exhibition space, framed by public Saturday events at de Appel Boys’ School and assembled here.

Using the quality of humour to test the potential of art as a critical instrument for the analysis of social, political and cultural issues, this exhibition aims to build a community of peers, professionals and a variety of publics. The commitment to humour stems from a belief in its social quality; in its capacity to bring subversive voices and unexpected perspectives to mainstream awareness.


Coming soon to sites all over Amsterdam, to a theatre, stadium, supermarket, storefront, a television, pavement, telephone and computer near you. More than 90 artists. Over 70 works. 6 events. In just 5 weeks.

Between 13 April and 12 May 2012, more than seventy new works of art will be produced – the result of an open invitation to students and residents of every graduate and post-academic fine art programme in the Netherlands. Participation implies three rules of engagement: the artists are asked to produce new works that make use of the critical potential of humour, realized outside of the gallery space and made public within the time frame of the exhibition period. 

While all the works will take place in the social fabric of everyday life, de Appel Boys’ School will open its doors to the public only on Saturdays. The Saturday events will include lectures and workshops by internationally renowned practictioners from the field of art, theory and comedy. In the onsite cinema, visitors will have a chance to explore the filmic character of humour through film and video works selected by the participants in the exhibition. The rest of the week, the Boys’ School will be closed to a general audience and serve as a production site for the artists. 

Our generation speaks back. Who said apocalypse was now? Four horsemen? Hell no. “Three Artists Walk into a Bar...” and for those who come anything goes!

The decision to work with peers has been motivated by the urge to gather a generation of young people who is directly affected by the impact of the current political attitude towards culture. It stems from the desire to produce a fertile ground for an unexpected multitude of voices to speak out in an open platform, towards the common will to respond and react, through art, to the challenges of the present time.

“THREE ARTISTS WALK INTO A BAR...” tests the multitude of possibilites and strategies for the distribution of art: whether the art works develop a one on one encounter, reach an unsuspecting public, or are visible to a mass, there will always be someone who ‘gets the joke’, with or without consent.

Can you take a joke? 

The Black Swan – de Appel Curatorial Programme 2011/2012 
This year the participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme decided to form an international curatorial collective, The Black Swan, to create a platform for future collaboration. The Black Swan coins its name from the theory of Lebanese American essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who defines a Black Swan as an event that is unpredictable in advance but predictable in retrospective and has a high impact in society. The Black Swan aims to investigate the potentials of unpredictability and chance in art practice and exhibition making. Issues such as art’s social and political agency, the nature of an art work’s encounter with a multitude of publics and the notion of collectivity are at the centre of its reflection.

The Black Swan is: Antonia Alampi, Katia Krupennikova, Qinyi Lim, Sanne Oorthuizen, Alec Steadman, Ivana Vaseva. For individual biographies click here.

Curatorial assistants: Alexandra Ghidoarca, Sonia de Jager, Jozeth van de Snepscheut.

More information about de Appel Curatorial Programme here.