Timken Museum of Art ‘Night Watching by Rineke Dijkstra’ – a Three Channel Video Installation with Sound Based on Rembrandt’s Dutch Masterpiece, ‘The Night Watch’

Timken Museum of Art ‘Night Watching by Rineke Dijkstra’ – a Three Channel Video Installation with Sound Based on Rembrandt’s Dutch Masterpiece, ‘The Night Watch’


Timken Museum of Art ‘Night Watching by Rineke Dijkstra’ – a Three Channel Video Installation with Sound Based on Rembrandt’s Dutch Masterpiece, ‘The Night Watch’

Acclaimed Dutch photographer, Rineke Dijkstra, creates a unique experience designed to stimulate and elicit thought-provoking audience reactions.

The experience of visiting Amsterdam’s renowned Rijksmuseum will be transported to San Diego, California when the three-channel video installation, Night Watching, based on Rembrandt’s celebrated and iconic Dutch masterpiece, The Night Watch (1642) comes to the  Timken Museum of Art located in Balboa Park, San Diego’s arts and cultural district, March 1- June 4, 2023.

Night Watching, created by acclaimed Dutch photographer, Rineke Dijkstra, is a three-channel video installation, featuring 14 different groups of people observing Rembrandt’s legendary work of art, The Night Watch. Each group’s conversation varies from visual descriptions to conjectures regarding the circumstances in which the painting was created.

Night Watching features a group of Dutch schoolgirls discussing whether Rembrandt gave the only woman in the painting the face of his wife, Saskia. Japanese businessmen consider the painting’s potential for tourism. A group of young artists discuss what it must feel like to make such an incomparable masterpiece. The scenes in the video are sequenced to explore the different ways a viewer might relate to a famous painting and its elusive subject. The first groups speculate about what they are seeing: for instance, a dog painted in a rather vague manner or the effects of a spectrally illuminated young girl on different beholders. These sequences are followed by groups who link similar observations to their own personal lives making comparisons between past and current society. The final groups examine the painting within an historical art context.


A collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Netherlands

“Night Watching is a memorable collaboration between a leading contemporary artist and the incomparable Rijksmuseum, where the work premiered in 2019,” stated Derrick R. Cartwright, PhD, the Timken’s director of curatorial affairs. “On six consecutive evenings, Rineke Dijkstra filmed groups observing The Night Watch (more formally known as Officers and other civic guardsmen of District II in Amsterdam, under the command of Captain Frans Banninck  Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch). Dijkstra’s project was created after the museum was closed to the public, facilitating the most private, intimate encounters with one of the world’s great paintings.”

Cartwright continued: “The Timken's presentation of Night Watching represents the very first time that this complex project has been seen on the West Coast. Dijkstra's work also inaugurates a new curatorial series at the Timken entitled ‘Reconsidering Rembrandt’ in which we pay tribute to our own painting by the artist, St. Bartholomew (1657).”

With Night Watching, the Timken hopes to examine a lively cultural and intellectual exchange between the two viewing locations—San Diego and Amsterdam—and explores the combination of contemporary art and the Timken’s collection mainstay, European Old Masters. Dijkstra will visit San Diego to open the exhibition and have a public conversation with Derrick R. Cartwright about the video-installation.

The Timken is Home to Rembrandt’s Saint Bartholomew

“Since the Timken is the permanent home of Rembrandt’s, Saint Bartholomew, we are particularly excited to bring Night Watching to San Diego audiences so that they can experience this immersive installation.” commented Megan Pogue, executive director of the Timken. “The Timken considers Rineke Dijkstra’s exploration of the current-day response to Rembrandt a worthy model to emulate. It fits into our institution’s ongoing exploration of the Old Masters, and our commitment to finding new ways to make these lastingly great works relevant for 21st century audiences.”

‘Night Watching’ – Free Admission

The Timken Museum of Art will display Night Watching in its freshly renovated, mid-century modern location in San Diego’s Balboa Park, home to dozens of museums and cultural landmarks including the world-renowned Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Zoo and The San Diego Museum of Art. The Timken expects as many as 60,000 visitors to see this one-of-a-kind, experience, which is being presented to the public free of charge.


Calendar Listing: ‘Night Watching by Rineke Dijkstra’ Presented by the Timken Museum of Art

Night Watching by acclaimed Dutch photographer, Rineke Dijkstra, is an interactive video installation based on Rembrandt’s masterpiece, ‘The Night Watch’ on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherland. Night Watching explores the observations and reactions of today’s audiences regarding one of the most famous artworks by one of the most celebrated artists of all time.

Monday, Feb 27th - 10 AM

Q&A with Dr. Derrick Cartwright and Rineke Dijkstra 

Free for Members / $15 for Non-Members 

Register here: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/Rineke 



Admission: Free

Timken Museum of Art

1500 El Prado – Balboa Park

San Diego, CA 92101


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