Els Hoek

Event Public Program

Lee Byars

11 January 2024 – 7.00pm

A Walk through the exhibition with Els Hoek

The Public Program devoted to James Lee Byars exhibition opens on Thursday 11 January 2024 at 7 PM with a walk in the company of Els Hoek, curator and art historian author of “The Sage in the Tower” an extensive research on the work of James Lee Byars.

Els Hoek accompanies the public on a walk through the show with a talk about some central themes in the work of James Lee Byars. She will touch upon his early career, his travels to Japan, the exchange with contemporary developments in American art, the first visits to Europe and his connections with Italy. At the end of the talk there will be a moment of exchange about the exhibition and its relationship to the rest of the oeuvre, the role of the audience and the way in which Byars gave meaning to being an artist.


The public could listen to the conference through headphones, while moving freely around the exhibition space.
The event was be held in direct relation with the works on display in order to understand the aspects of James Lee Byars’s practice.


The event was held in English. Simultaneous translation was provided.
Admission to the event is free.


Els Hoek
is Curator of Education at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. She studied Art History at Utrecht University and completed an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, publishing about Mondrian and De Stijl, as well as about contemporary art. Hoek started her career as a freelance curator and researcher in 1983. She worked for museums, government organisations and the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). From 1986 onwards she also worked as an art critic for the Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant, and as a researcher and editor of art programs on Dutch national television. She was asked to develop a television program for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2009. Two series of Boijmans TV were broadcast. At the same time Hoek became involved with Boijmans’ online video platform ARTtube, producing and directing videos about art and design. Gradually her activities within the museum have broadened. She has curated exhibitions and conducted research on the life and work of the American artist James Lee Byars. This resulted in the publication of a Boijmans study about Byars in 2020. Alongside her work as curator of the traveling exhibition of the museum’s Surrealism collection, she is currently working for Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

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