“I miss my pre-internet brain,” says the sticker handed to visitors of Bit Rot. The text brings an affirmative smile to faces—or is it more of a smirk? This kind of dry humor with a nostalgic tinge and an air of fatalism is difficult to process without some feeling of ambiguity. It’s typical for life in the early 21st century. Things are moving ahead so rapidly that we’re constantly trying to catch up but never really do. The technology driving us forward grows faster a... [more]
Weapons manufacturers and tobacco industry are an obvious no-no. Most banks are iffy taking into account the financial sector’s ethical track record. The same is true for the fraudulent likes of Volkswagen. Times are tough for investors with a conscience. Where can you deposit your money and be sure it won’t have negative effects? Well, you could invest in a museum. The Cobra Museum in Amstelveen offers bonds to help finance its shows. Last year’s From the Guggenheim Collection to the... [more]
Even 30 years later, you cannot feel but sorry for the poor French TV journalist who interviewed Robert Frank in 1984. He must have been quite happy before filming—he had succeeded where most important magazines and newspapers had failed: actually securing an interview with the most influential photographer alive. But everything goes awry right from the start. “I hate these fucking interviews,” is the first thing that comes out of Frank’s mouth. Lots of expletives follow,... [more]
Thank God for a new generation of artists! Today’s emerging artists stay away from the pushy know-it-all attitude of macho modernists who for half a century were quick to dismiss as inferior anyone supporting a dogma not their own. Neither are they infected by the postmodern virus of egalitarianism, which in the end robs everything of value and reduces art to an ironic game of smart references and endless footnotes. Artists of today are not afraid to shop around for culturally diverse icono... [more]
The Mona Lisa, Vermeer’s Milkmaid, Fabritius’ Goldfinch. At the time of their creation they were considered exceptional works, no doubt. But only by a limited audience. These works hung in private homes or palaces, exclusively on display for their owners and the occasional visitor. This changed dramatically with the advent of the museum in the eighteenth century and even more so with the museum’s transformation into a fully-fledged public institution two centuries later. At the Louvre, Rij... [more]
The number of tourists pouring into Amsterdam increases steadily every year. Obviously Madame Tussauds, the Anne Frank House and—of course—the red light district are popular destinations, but in the last decade or so museums have become a serious pull-factor. Number one on the list is the Rijksmuseum, welcoming more than 2.4 million visitors in 2014 and on track to break that record this year. For the exhibition Late Rembrandt alone half a million tickets were sold.
Besides happy faces... [more]
The small Dutch city of Utrecht is receiving worldwide attention this weekend as its charming canals and cobbled corridors play host to Le Grand Départ: the launch of the Tour de France, which hits the road on Saturday.
As with any major sporting event, the rights to host Le Grand Départ are as much rights to major commercial and tourism opportunities as they are to the Majesty of Sport. Naturally, Tour merch abounds and nearly every shop in town has a decorated Peugeot racer, sleek... [more]
Roughly one sixth of the Netherlands was once covered by water and has over the centuries been reclaimed with dikes and windmills. The latest addition to this growing mass of new land is the so-called Centrumeiland (Center Island), a slender strip attached to Haveneiland (Harbor Island) of Amsterdam's new IJburg housing estate. Some 800,000 cubic meters of sand were deposited, layer upon layer, to create space for much needed homes to accommodate the city's rapidly increasing population. Construct... [more]
In early 2012 Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós challenged filmmakers to create videos for their album Valtari. Photographer Ryan McGinley chose the song “Varúð,” an eight-minute dream narrated by a raspy head voice over an unsteady piano and transparent strings. In his video a barefoot girl in a glittery gold wig and a washed-out blue nightie skips through the streets of New York City in slow motion. She passes trucks, taxicabs, construction workers, and business men, m... [more]
When Dries Verhoeven decided to put himself—and all his Grindr dating app interactions—on public display in real time in Berlin last fall, he had no idea the sort of community outrage he’d be met with.
Now the Dutch artist’s controversial performance Wanna Play? Love in Times of Grindr is back—with edits—after its Berlin debut was shut down 5 days into a 15-day run last October.
For the duration of the performance (10 days in its current iteration) Verhoeven lives... [more]
In the fall of 1987 John Knoll and his girlfriend Jennifer flew to Tahiti. For months they’d been working on the computer graphics of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit and they needed a well-earned rest. It was at the pristine Bora-Bora beach that Knoll took a photograph which in the decades ahead became an icon of international geekdom: Jennifer, seen from the back, sitting topless on the white sand with the almost fluorescent blue ocean as backdrop. The picture would have remained just an... [more]
First comes a wave of chlorophyll: a fresh and forward odor, the smell of tender green. Then, when the first vapors thin in the air and the nose digs deeper, the wood follows. It’s darker, heavier, earthier—soothing and more serious after the initial playfulness.
The French have Yves Saint-Laurent’s eau de toilette, Paris, in its compact pink bottle. New York is well taken care of with Bond 9 having designed a different smell for every borough—and I’m not even mentioning Donna Karan&r... [more]
The capitalist economy is sexist: women earn less than men for doing the same job and the glass ceiling prevents them from ever reaching the top. Mainstream media are biased against LGBTs and propagate heterosexuality as the norm. It’s usually systems that are accused of being skewed against minorities, and usually on just grounds. But Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin take it one step further. The artist duo echoes French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard who, when shooting a film in Mozambique... [more]
As Caroline Picard pointed out earlier this year on ArtSlant, we’ve been living in the anthropocene our whole lives, but never before have we talked quite so much about it.
Despite all the “age of man” chatter, “images of the anthropocene are missing,” argues one of two articles explicitly addressing the anthropocene in the latest e-flux journal. Irmgard Emmelhainz’s “Conditions of Visuality Under the Anthropocene and Images of the Anthropocene to Come” argues that the anthropocene “announces its own extinction... [more]
When passing the ticket booth at the Cobra Museum everything seems business as usual: white walls with informative texts in an inoffensive font, the bold colors associated with the art movement's practioners Appel, Constant, Corneille, and Alechinsky visible from afar. But brace yourself and turn the corner. Entering Brutal Vitality is like receiving shock treatment—the sudden visual overload had me gasping for breath. Multi-colored bricks, blown-up black and white photographs, a bicycle, raggedy c... [more]
Rotterdam’s Van Nellefabriek—once a factory for processing coffee, tea, and tobacco—is one of the Netherlands’ most impressive modernist monuments. This concrete and steel colossus, with its imposing glass façade, was progressive in its use of light, air, and space, and in its attention to working conditions. Art Rotterdam moved to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and event complex in 2014. This year, the fair’s 16th edition does justice to the site’s legacy of... [more]