Pers, Author at Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst

Clandestine – Photography collection by Pedro Slim
15 October 2021 to 27 March 2022

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen brings together some 100 black-and-white photographs by roughly 60 famous photographers in the exhibition Clandestine. The theme of all the works is the human body, and they are part of the collection of photographer and collector Pedro Slim (Beirut, Lebanon, 1950). This is the first time that this collection is being shown in the Netherlands. The photographs show an explicit love for the (naked) human body in all its manifestations: woman and man, perfect and imperfect, elegant, erotic or vulnerable.

Arlene Gottfried, Angel and Woman on Boardwalk, 1976. Vintage gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.5 cm. Copyright Arlene Gottfried, Courtesey Galerie Bene Taschen.

The exhibition is curated by guest curator Sylvia Navarrete Bouzard (former director of Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, 1961). The exhibition presents original and contemporary prints (including silver on gelatine, photogravure), collages and photomontages by artists such as George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst, George Platt Lynes, George Dureau, Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Graciela Iturbide, Antonio Garduño, Pierre Molinier, Allen Frame, Larry Clark, Peter Hujar, Amos Badertscher, Man Ray and Arlene Gottfried.

The uncompromising self-expression of the people in the photos from Pedro Slim’s collection is especially relevant today. His photos are an ode to diversity in terms of sexuality, gender and beauty. With this exhibition, the Cobra Museum hopes to contribute to the discussion on stereotypes and prejudices surrounding these themes, striving for a future with more equality and diversity.

The unlimited body
The visitor is introduced to the collection through three themes. The first part presents a variety of views on the beauty of the human body. The photographers believe that beauty primarily lies in personal expression. The artists seek to go beyond prevailing standards and ideals of beauty, and make a plea to cherish the body in all its manifestations.

Life in the margins
The photographs within the second theme show people living on the fringes of society. Many of the photographs are somewhere between art, documentary and an intimate diary, and many of the scenes captured are scenes of everyday life. The artists show how bodily experiences can also be a political tool: their photos proudly assert autonomy over the body.

Arlene Gottfried
Pedro Slim is the most important collector of the work of Arlene Gottfried (1950-2017). Gottfried specialised in the genre known as street photography, recording life in the less well-to-do neighbourhoods of her hometown New York. This collection is the third theme in the exhibition. Her photographs show the spontaneous connections that arise from the love or camaraderie between two people, the serendipity of everyday situations at the beach or on the streets, and from those fleeting moments brimming with amusement, humour and emotion.

About the collector
Mexican photographer and collector Pedro Slim comes from a Lebanese-Mexican family, and was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1950. He studied architecture and photography in Mexico and New York. Since the early 1990s, he has had solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in Paris, Houston, Barcelona and Beirut. His relative Carlos Slim is known as an international telecommunications entrepreneur. But Pedro Slim’s collection was built independently from his family, and is the result of his passion and interest in photography. The last exhibition of Pedro Slims’ collection was at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 2017. In 2018, he curated the Festival Internacional por la Diversidad Sexual in Mexico City.

About the museum
The Cobra Museum focuses on the art and ideas of the Cobra movement. Cobra is part of the canon of art history, but the ‘spirit’ of Cobra is still very much alive. An alternative culture, based on international solidarity and creativity, is perhaps more relevant than ever in the world we live in today. The Cobra Museum therefore actively links the collection and history of Cobra to contemporary artists, modern art movements and current affairs.


Festive opening

10 June 2021


The official opening took place in the presence of the Ambassador of Mexico, Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia and the Mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens. Guests visited  the exhibition and enjoyed Mexican music and dance.

Opening 10 June, photo: Matthijs Immink

De tentoonstelling Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: A Love Revolution trok in de eerste week al ruim 2.000 bezoekers. De unieke Gelman Collection of Mexican Modern Art is voor het eerst in Nederland te zien en bevat maar liefst 23 werken van de hand van Frida Kahlo, waaronder enkele van haar beroemde zelfportretten.

Photo Matthijs Immink (f.l.t.r. president of the board Cobra Museum, Hugo Siblesz, ambassador of Mexico Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens and deputy director Cobra Museum Stefan van Raay)

The Mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens was delighted to finally get together physically and celebrate culture:

“After a long COVID-19 lockdown, finally, restrictions in the Netherlands are being eased and our society is opening up step by step. It has been a tough year for cultural institutions. Cultural activities almost came to a halt. Empty museums, empty theatres, and for such a long time. It has been a tough year for artists, not being able to perform, to exhibit, to bloom. And although the cultural sector developed all kind of online alternatives, it doesn’t replace ‘live’ interaction.

So the 5th of June, the day that cultural institutions could physically open their doors again, was a happy day for many of us. I learned that on Saturday, the first day The Cobra Museum opened its doors again, they received 500 visitors and on Sunday 600. People missed you.

Last year showed us that culture is of great value to society. It encourages people to connect, to discover new worlds, to enrich themselves. It brings hope and inspiration in times of sorrow and discomfort. But, also economically, culture is of great value. It makes a city more appealing, not only to residents but also to visitors and tourist from abroad. The Cobra Museum is part of the Visit Amstelveen programme, our city marketing platform that highlights the rich diversity of our city.

Hopefully, the pandemic made us more aware of the value of culture to society. Hopefully, it will be more appreciated.”

Opening 10 June, mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens, photo: Matthijs Immink

The ambassador of Mexico took the attendees to the Mexico of the last century:

“Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: a Love Revolution” cannot be fully understood if we do not place it within its time and circumstance. Those times were profoundly defined by a social revolution of enormous scope. During those first six decades of the nineteen hundreds, Mexico defined its vision of social justice and focused on its aspirations to build a modern and inclusive society. It is during that period that Mexico consolidates its national unity and upholds it with massive health and education policies; with the construction of an extensive transportation network; with the launching of industrial development; and by embarking on an urbanization process that produced a middle class and transformed the country.”

And emphasised the influence of Frida Kahlo on contemporary society:

“By concentrating on the works by Frida Kahlo and going beyond the clichés that have made her “the most famous female Mexican artist”, we can also attain a different perspective. We should move beyond her suffering, her handicapped condition and resilience, transcend the actions that tore down barriers and opened new social spaces for women, in order to explore some less obvious and more interesting elements of her work.

Frida continues to inspire us today with her free spirit, enormous strength and overwhelming passion, but also marvels us with her relationship to nature, with her approach towards gender, or with her ability to integrate knowledge and sensations from the past into the present and the future.”

Opening 10 June, ambassador of Mexico, Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, photo: Matthijs Immink
Opening 10 June, photo: Matthijs Immink

Kahlo after work

Open until 10pm


The museum is open from 10 am to 10 pm. The most crowded time is in the mornings and in the weekends. Would you like to enjoy our exhibitions in peace and quiet? Please join us between 6 and 10 pm. You can combine your visit with a drink and a snack in the café or on a summer evening on our terrace.


Although we cannot fully open our doors, our museum shop and the terrace of our café is open! Of course, you can also order a variety of coffees and sweets to-go!

Our terrace is open daily from 12 to 6 pm.
By following the right measures everyone can get drinks and snacks while enjoying our terrace.

If you wish to visit, make sure to reserve a table in advance. We offer reservations for a maximum of 1.5 hours. You reserve by calling 020-547 50 50 or sending an email to You can also make a reservation at the museum café.

The current measures against the coronavirus apply during your visit. A health check is mandatory. We only allow a maximum of 2 people per visit and there is no self-service, so we make sure you stay sitting while enjoying the sun. Only payments & visits to the toilet are allowed inside the museum café.

Coffee to-go
You can order coffee, something tasty or a simple lunch to-go. Check our delicious menu.

Our Museum Shop is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm
During your visit, please follow the safety measures, such as keeping a 1.5 meters distance and wearing a mouth mask.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon in the museum!


In the summer of 2022, guest curator Abdelkader Benali (1975) will fill the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen with Moroccan art. For the first time in the Netherlands, some 40 Moroccan artists will be brought together to provide an overview of the development of Moroccan modern art from the country’s independence in 1956 to the present day. With artists such as Hamid el Kanbouhi (1976), Nour-Eddine Jarram (1956), Khalil Nemmaoui (1967) and Wafae Ahalouch el Keriasti (1978).

The independence in 1956 also marked the birth of Moroccan modern art. A renewed self-awareness among Moroccan artists arose. By now, a new young and exciting generation of artists has taken its place on the international stage. Abdelkader Benali’s passion for the visual arts, but also for ‘the other story about Morocco’ can be experienced in the Cobra Museum. Benali takes the visitor on a journey through his personal observations. Around 80 works on themes such as decolonisation, spirituality, gender and migration are brought together in the museum galleries.

Mutual influences
Artists like Matisse and Delacroix were inspired by Morocco in their artistic practice and the Moroccan influences are clearly visible in their works. In their search for new forms, Moroccan artists, in turn, were inspired by such movements as Bauhaus in Western Europe and Pop Art in the United States.

From past to present
The Djema-el-Fna, Marrakech’s world-famous square, has always been the domain of storytellers. On this square, a group of young artists from Casablanca organised the first open-air exhibition in 1969 as a protest against the fossilised museum system. The Moroccan modern artists wanted to stay close to the Moroccan people and tell their stories. In the younger generation, too, we see the effect of this desire to tell stories about major themes such as migration, sexuality and spirituality, and in doing so they do not hesitate to challenge taboos. Whether the artists from this young generation have attended art school or are self-taught, they instinctively find their way to the old forms, the new forms of the current and future age.
The start of the modern movement in Morocco is closely linked to the literary magazine Souffles, in which the artists were introduced. There is a clear understanding that the art movement comprises more than just visual art, it also includes other disciplines such as poetry and design.

Museum bazaar
The Cobra Museum will be transformed into one big Moroccan bazaar with food, dance, theatre, poetry, film, urban culture, sports and fashion. The Cobra Museum will also host the Iftar, the meal consumed by Muslims right after sunset during the fasting month of Ramadan. Various groups are invited to express their critical, evocative or cheerful celebration of Moroccan art and culture.

Literary publication
The exhibition will be accompanied by Abdelkader Benali’s new book, published by De Arbeiderspers, which gives a narrative account of his research into 75 years of Moroccan modern art. The book is a personal reflection of Benali on the themes and his observations.

About Abdelkader Benali
Abdelkader Benali (1975) was born in Morocco. He is one of the best-known writers in the Netherlands. His work, which is published internationally, was awarded the E. du Perron Prize in 2010 and the prestigious Gouden Ganzenveer in 2020. In one of his novels, he delves into the history of Matisse’s stay in Tangier. Abdelkader Benali draws inspiration from the imagination of Moroccan artists and collects work by young artists. Besides being a writer, Benali is a programme maker, historian, speaker and guest curator. His first contact with Moroccan art was in the family home, when his mother sang her Riffin izran songs while cleaning, songs that sounded exotic and mysterious to him; the accumulated images they conjured up of “my head bobbing in the sea, no fisherman to catch it” created a surreal image in his mind.

Morocco and Cobra
The birth of Moroccan modernism coincides with the birth of the Cobra movement in post-war Europe. Cobra artists liked to let themselves be inspired by non-European art and oriental calligraphy. They celebrated freedom. The light-hearted naivety with which a new era was ushered in can also be found among the Moroccan artists of that generation. Morocco had just been liberated from the Spanish-French protectorate, and especially artists without a formal education created a colourful, vibrant movement. There were also direct influences: Jilali Gharbaoui, one of the pioneers of the modern movement in Morocco, was inspired by Karel Appel and they met in 1962.

The Cobra Museum in Amstelveen actively links the collection and history of Cobra to contemporary artists, modern art movements and current events. In its programming, the museum pays attention to non-Western art within a context of societal topicality.

“The Cobra Museum is celebrating 70 years of Moroccan modern art next year with The other story, Moroccan Modernism from 1950 to the present. This story is told by the writer Abdelkader Benali, who is an avid art lover. It seems more people have discovered Moroccan art, because recently the exhibition The Moroccan Trilogy 1950-2020 opened at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. We are very much looking forward to the collaboration with Abdelkader and the undoubtedly magnificent result that will also give rise to a festive summer full of activities and events for everyone,” says Stefan van Raay, initiator of the exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.


The other story by Abdelkader Benali
Morrocan Modernism from 1950 to the present
15 April – 18 September 2022