AMSTERDAM — The Dutch artist Jan Henderikse, 78, still remembers how he and his fellow artists from the avant-garde Zero movement got their first major museum exhibition at the Stedelijk here in 1962.
“By incident or by accident, I don’t know which, the museum had no exhibitions scheduled for 14 days,” he said over the phone from his studio in Antwerp, Belgium, where he lives part of the year, when he’s not in Brooklyn, New York. He said that the Dutch artist Henk Peeters, who died in 2013, another member of the group, often petitioned the museum’s director for a group show.
The director “said on very short notice, ‘O.K., you can have it as long as you pay for everything,”’ Mr. Henderikse said. “Henk got the space, and the Stedelijk name and everything, but no money.” It may not have been the ideal premiere, but many people still credit the Stedelijk with starting the experimental movement that has seen three linked retrospectives in the past year alone, starting with “Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in October 2014, then “Zero: The International Art Movement of the 1950s and 60s” at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin this spring.