In the film After Life (1998) by Kore-eda Hirokazu the recently deceased end up on a minimalist film set. In this purgatory they discuss and improvise with their fellow travelers until they have decided on the ultimately defining moment of their lives. They re-enact it and then pass over to whatever paradise or nothingness may be waiting for them. One by one the dead come to terms with what they’ve left behind. Except for one, who can’t decide.
That guy could have been Nobuyoshi Araki.... [more]
An empty wall to fill but on a tight budget? Looking for an original Christmas gift? Or are you just an avid bargain hunter? A semi-abstract print by Jaap Hillenius could be just the ticket for you. Price: somewhere between 175 and 250 euro—and that’s including the frame. If you like large formats, the reclining nude by Hans van der Ham costing 450 euro is an option. And at 175 euro a diptych by Bert Loerakker is a good deal—especially if you take into account the original price of... [more]
True to their sometimes petty nature and deep-seated adversity to change the town folk of Amsterdam were up in arms last year when Jacqueline Grandjean made public her plans for the Oude Kerk (Old Church). The new director wanted the venue to become more than a glorified exhibition space filled with penurious looking temporary bulkheads. She envisioned large-scale installations by artists of international repute, in interviews casually mentioning the Unilever Series in Tate Modern’s Turbine... [more]
To be talked about—positively or negatively, it hardly matters—is the principle aim of every art prize with an exhibition attached to it. Of course, reward or encouragement are the motivational labels attached to them but PR is the true driving force. For a good many years the Turner Prize was the prime example of a "successful" art prize exhibition. All of Britain would be talking about the nominees and the winners, down to the proverbial cab driver, who wouldn’t need a lot of... [more]
SAIC Secret Admirers was started in March of 2013. The Facebook page for anonymously posting amorous yearnings quickly took off, garnering likes from over 50% of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago student body. While speculation swirled as to who was behind the page, the secret was kept until just recently when artist Anna Russett came forward as the administrator behind the page. We sat down over Facebook to chat about Secret Admirers, butt stuff, and social media as a platform for contempor... [more]
Suppose you’re a collector of Dutch photography, you have no kids (or they are uninterested barbarians), and you’re reaching that age when you start thinking about your legacy. Which institute would be most suitable for a donation? Which museum would be the best new home for your collection?
The Netherlands has the luxury of having not one, not two, but no fewer than four museums dedicated solely to photography. That’s an unusually large number for such a small country. A Swis... [more]
I think I might have curated my lunch today. I chose a specific sandwich from the collection on offer at the shop and to accompany it I chose a drink that I thought would go well with my sandwich. To balance the selection, I included a banana. The result might have been a “well-curated” lunch, but I’m not sure. It depends on who’s defining of the term.
In recent years the word “curating” escaped the confines of museums to be picked up by the mainstream, while... [more]
Recently, a “Stereotypes of the Netherlands” map made its rounds on the Internet, describing how the Dutch conceptualize their small country’s terrain. Down south, in the middle of Brabant’s “Catholic Carnival Country,” a short distance from “Dumb People, Great Beer” (apologies, Belgium), is the technological oasis of “Philipstown,” so named for the diversified technology mega-corporation. If the city is known for innovation in technology and indu... [more]
"Empty, alienating, soul-less, superficial, formulaic, repetitive, awkward, thick, one-dimensional… Imitation of bad work does not flatter."
"Yet another denim jeans riff on Yves Klein."
These are the types of criticisms Jonas Lund’s paintings have been receiving lately, but the Amsterdam-based Swedish artist is likely unconcerned. The offending artworks were not yet his—and it appears they never will be. While the works were made at his behest following guidelines from a 300... [more]
As the fall art fair season in Europe gets properly underway with Frieze next week followed by FIAC and Artissima (not to mention that other fair across the pond come December) it's easy to get overwhelmed by overload: the glitz, cash, hype, ADD, FOMO, last big thing, current big thing, next big thing, and all the other BIG THINGS that are par for the course market-side of the art world.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Amsterdam kicked things off last month with a trio of specialized mid-Se... [more]
Since its long anticipated reopening in September 2012 the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has served up some fine shows: The Mike Kelley retrospective was, if somewhat airtight, quite comprehensive, and Jeff Wall’s Tableaux Pictures Photographs 1996-2013 could easily compete with the grand overview nine years ago at Tate Modern. But with Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden the museum has hit a new high point. The retrospective of the nation’s best-known painter is by far the best exhibiti... [more]
One of my colleagues crafted his city’s fall preview around the challenge of choosing exhibitions to visit when there’s so much to see. It’s a difficult task we all face, and quite frankly, I might have taken this approach myself. Instead, when charged with writing about September offerings I ended up looking for patterns; like a gallery staging a summer group show, I wondered what ad hoc themes I might attach to Amsterdam art this month. Of course, it’s a task more hopele... [more]
There’s some buzz in New York this summer because all seventeen of the Met’s van Gogh paintings are on view together for the first time in over ten years. That’s nice, though an abundance of van Gogh paintings isn’t something that preoccupies us too much here in Amsterdam. In fact, right now we’ve got too many—including quite a few of the ones currently installed at the Met.
Packed wall-to-wall in the basement of the Beurs van Berlage these days are some two hund... [more]
Horizontals, verticals, and some disciplined curves, squares and angles offset by relentless electrical streetlights. The wall with forty vintage photographs marking the start of The Rush and Calm, Moments in the City looks like an architect’s drawing table. Karl Hugo Schmölz’s 1950s documentation of German cinemas, orchestra houses, car dealerships, and shopping malls clearly illustrates the strong focus on hardware during the post-war Reconstruction period. They show the city as... [more]
Bringing Private Passions into the Public Realm
Visiting Focus Beijing at Rotterdam's Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Edo Dijksterhuis considers the trend of Dutch museums forging exhibitions from private collections.
For the better part of their lives Henk de Heus and his wife Victoria de Heus-Zomer have worked to build up their business. The De Heus animal feed company has a hundred year history but it wasn’t until the last couple of decades that the family business f... [more]
For the better part of their lives Henk de Heus and his wife Victoria de Heus-Zomer have worked to build up their business. The De Heus animal feed company has a hundred year history but it wasn’t until the last couple of decades that the family business from rural Barneveld boomed, becoming a world leader in animal nutrition, a multinational active in fifty countries. The de Heus-Zomer couple has invested a sizeable part of the resulting fortune in art. Since the late eighties they have col... [more]