Sonsbeek '71: Sonsbeek buiten de perken

19 June - 15 August 1971


Wim Beeren (1928-2000)


Sonsbeek '71 breaks radically with the tradition of previous editions. Instead of sculpture, it focusses on international developments in contemporary art of the previous five years. It is the first time a theme is used: spatial relationships. The artists are invited to visit park Sonsbeek and create a work of art as a result of their visit. Almost all the artists visit the park, but some (including Robert Smithson) criticise its 'artificial' nature. The working committee, led by curator Wim Beeren, decided to let a number of artists choose locations 'outside the confines' of Sonsbeek. This resulted in all kinds of projects and artworks, spread all over the Netherlands (in almost all twelve provinces!).

The working committee also wants to make visitors aware of the influence that (new) means of communication, such as the telephone and telex machine, have on the perception of space, distances and time. So special communication centres were set up in Arnhem, Maastricht, Leiden, Rotterdam, Groningen and Enschede where anyone could use these devices.

Labelled in the catalogue as an adventure and a dynamic manifestation, the concept of Sonsbeek '71 is both revolutionary and controversial. Not only visitors, but also art critics and even artists criticise, among other things, the distribution of artworks and the subsidising of "elite art" - a qualification circulating in the media. Sonsbeek '71 was supposed to unite art and society, but instead the distance between artists and art experts on the one hand and the public on the other became the main point of attention.


  • Vito Acconci
  • Bas Jan Ader
  • Carl Andre
  • Ben d’Armagnac
  • Richard Artschwager
  • Bruce Baillie
  • Douwe Jan Bakker
  • Joseph Beuys
  • Ronald Bladen
  • Marinus Boezem
  • stanley brouwn
  • Daniel Buren
  • Javacheff Christo
  • Tony Conrad
  • Hanne Darboven
  • Ad Dekkers
  • Ger Dekkers
  • Jan Dibbets
  • Gert van Elk
  • Pieter Engels
  • Groep Enschede
  • E.R.G.
  • Hans Eykelboom
  • Barry Flanagan
  • Fluxus
  • Hollis Frampton
  • Ernie Gehr
  • Dan Graham
  • Robert Grosvenor
  • Mike Heizer
  • Douglas Huebler
  • I.C.W.
  • Ken Jacobs
  • joepat
  • Donald Judd
  • On Kawara
  • W. Knoebel
  • Hans Koetsier
  • Alex van der Kraan
  • Peter Kubelka
  • George Landow
  • Standish Dyer Lawder
  • Sol Lewitt
  • Richard Long
  • Walter de Maria
  • Mass Moving
  • Yutaka Matsuzawa
  • Mario Merz
  • Robert Morris
  • Bruce Nauman
  • Noord-Brabant Groep
  • Claes Oldenburg
  • Dennis Oppenheim
  • Nam June Paik
  • Panamarenko
  • Egbert Philips
  • Emilio Prini
  • Klaus Rinke
  • Peter Roehr
  • Ulrich Rückriem
  • Edward Ruscha
  • Fred Sandback
  • Jean-Michel Sanejouand
  • Wim T. Schippers
  • Paul Sharits
  • Eric Siegel
  • Tony Smith
  • Robert Smithson
  • Richard Serra
  • Eric Siegel
  • Kenneth Snelson
  • Michael Snow
  • Koert Stuyf en Ellen Edinoff
  • Shinkichi Tajiri
  • Sajiki en Yokoyama Tenjo
  • Carel Visser
  • Andre Volten
  • Hans de Vries
  • Lex Wechgelaar
  • Lawrence Weiner
  • Joyce Wieland


Almelo (Ben D’Armagnac)
Amsterdam (Ger Dekkers, Hans Koetsier)
Antwerp (Panamarenko)
Arnhem – Park Sonsbeek (E.R.G., Carl Andre, Ronald Bladen, Ad Dekkers, Robert Grosvenor, Donald Judd, W. Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Claes Oldenburg, Ulrich Rückriem, Fred Sandback, Wim T. Schippers, Tony Smith, Kenneth Snelson, Carel Visser, André Volten, stanley brouwn, joepat, Nam June Paik, Eric Siegel, Shikichi Tajiri). 
Gemeentemuseum Arnhem and Kröller Müller Museum (films) (Jan Dibbets, Ger van Elk, Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Bruce Baillie, Boezem, stanley brouwn, Javacheff Christo, Tony Conrad, Walter de Marie, Barry Flanagan, Fluxus, Hollis Frampton, Ernie Gehr, Dan Graham, Mike Heizer, Ken Jacobs, Peter Kubelka, Land Art, George Landow, Standish Dyer Lawder, Wim van der Linden, Richard Long, Robbert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Robert Nelson, Dennis Oppenheim, Peter Roehr, Wim T. Schippers, Richard Serra, Paul Sharits, Robert Smithson, Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland.
Dordrecht (Jean Michel Sanejouand)
Drienerloo – campus
Emmen – Robert Smithson
Enschede (informatiecentrum, Edward Ruscha)
Groningen (informatiecentrum)
Haarlem (Douwe Jan Bakker)
Leiden (Boezem)
Maastricht (Lex Wechelaar) 
Pieterburen/Groningerwad (Richard Long)
Rotterdam (informatiecentrum)
Santpoort/Velsen (Robbert Morris)
Stadskanaal (Edward Ruscha)
Ter Apel (Edward Ruscha)
Utrecht (Richard Artschwager)
Veendam (Edward Ruscha)
Vlake (Joseph Beuys)
Voerendaal (Mike Heizer)
Wijk bij Duurstede (Axel van der Kraan)



Sonsbeek ’71: Sonsbeek buiten de perken (twee delen), 1971

Design: Jolijn van de Wouw (Total Design, Amsterdam)
Publisher: De IJssel, Deventer 

Facts and Figures

Approximately 17.000-20.000 visitors exhibition venues throughout The Netherlands in 10 provinces  only existing permanent land art work by Robert Smithson in Europe, created for Sonsbeek '71  Strong criticism expressed amongst other by the Beroepsvereniging Beeldende Kunstenaars (professional association of visual artists)