The Merchant House (TMH) presents contemporary art with sales of art as a funding strategy. Marsha Plotnitsky, TMH’s Founding Artistic Director, curates a project-based program involving extensive research and work with the artists. Each project brings together a thematic exhibition, cultural events, and a dedicated catalogue/artist’s book.
At TMH, we feel there is a need for a vibrant venue dedicated to contemporary art, culture, and publications. Our aim is to contribute to artists’ careers, participate in international art discourse, and stimulate an engaging dialogue in the city by inviting people for exhibitions, talks, concerts, and social evenings. Since it opened its doors in a historical canal house in Amsterdam in 2013, TMH has become known as a modern take on the Dutch tradition of a merchant—freely open to the public.
Herengracht 254: Canal houses of the 1600s and squatter houses of the 1960s are an integral part of Amsterdam. These houses, and life within them, formed the avant-garde of their time and proposed a way of life to emulate.
Spreading to the outdoors Amsterdam-style, TMH’s artworks can be exposed through the high windows to the eyes of the passersby, part of the city’s shop displays and the play of light on the canal—“YouTube” in real.
TMH’s stijlkamer boasts an 18th-century ceiling painting by a Dutch master. The beautiful Flora of his hand is there as if to preside (her “embarrassment of riches” notwithstanding) as we endeavor to develop new ideas and programs.
In curating the art projects in the Amsterdam canal house, Marsha Plotnitsky, our Founding Artistic Director, explores the artistic, spatial, and organizational possibilities of an art merchant construct.
The program builds on her extended art historical and sociological research and experience with ICAR Foundation (New York, from 2001) as well as her twenty-year New York career in business, as a Managing Director at DLJ, New York. At ICAR, she developed an art collection and exhibited Dennis Oppenheim, Vito Acconci, John Coplans, and JCJ Vanderheyden among other artists. Born in the former Soviet Union, Marsha studied in the US, at the University of Pennsylvania: BA Linguistics, Summa Cum Laude, and MBA, Wharton School, 1980. Before moving to the Netherlands, she lived and worked in New York.
She values sensitivity to people and places. Her favorite quote from the press about TMH is: “…the merchant of dreams” (Het Parool, Amsterdam).
Founding Artistic Director
Dirk van Weelden
Editing & Translation NL
Gert Jan van Rooij
Photographers (Installation Images)
Printing Publications & Editions