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Andrea Alessi

20130910184712-kgee140 Fall Preview: Brussels Art Days   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 9/10/13

There’s something appealing about Brussels’ approach to the reopening of its contemporary art galleries in September. Some cities take a couple weekends of openings to repopulate their galleries with new artworks. Others have one night when the entire local art scene switches on, decisively ending the August blackout. These evenings are fun – whether they come in staccato bursts or roaring symphony – but they’re also exhausting. And if you happen to be craving actual a... [more]

20130909184048-hiorns Fall Preview: Bittersweet Nostalgia in Amsterdam   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 9/9/13

More than birthdays, more than New Year’s Eve, there’s something about September that viscerally marks the passage of time. A feeling of nostalgia hides under the angle of the Earth’s axial tilt. It blows in on cooling winds, grows with the lengthening shadows. It begins gradually, the bittersweet end of Summer, then suddenly there’s no time left. Last September the Stedelijk Museum reopened. Has it really been a whole year? Indeed. We’ve attended stellar exhibiti... [more]

20130828184026-mondrian_girls1 The Call of the Mall   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Nathan Coley, Robbie Cornelissen, Matthew Darbyshire, Sylvie Fleury, Christian Jankowski, Krijn De Koning, Gabriel Lester, LIGNA, Antonio Vega Macotela, John Miller, Wilfredo Prieto, Melle Smets, Pilvi Takala, Troika, Bik van der Pol, Lily van der Stokker, Henrik Vibskov at Hoog Catharijne and Utrecht Central Station June 20th, 2013 - September 22nd, 2013
Posted 8/28/13

I saw a wonderful thing at the mall the other day. I was standing outside the supermarket when five models wearing replica Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dresses walked by, each leading a pure bred dog in tow. I readily joined the parade of people accumulating behind these designer dog walkers, and followed them throughout the mall where they would occasionally pause, cue music, perform choreographed poses, then move on. Let’s take a step back. Hoog Catharijne, where I spied these models, is bot... [more]

20130717182135-mushroom_hunter XXXL   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Klaas Kloosterboer, Chris Martin, Jim Shaw at Submarine Wharf June 8th, 2013 - September 29th, 2013
Posted 7/17/13

First, a note on scale: In archival photos of Egyptian ruins and monuments, there’s generally a little dude and/or camel in there functioning as a yardstick. Like these little dudes and/or camels, my partner appears in a lot of my photos of art for scale. Recently he came in handy at Katharina Grosse’s show at De Pont, and again in the Louvre’s hall of large-format paintings (David’s The Coronation of Napoleon, for example, measures twenty by thirty-two feet). But never has a... [more]

20130614192058-largegelitin_reine_magarine_rilke_jean_jacques_643ba "Gelitin, come out to play?"   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Gelitin at Tim Van Laere Gallery May 16th, 2013 - June 29th, 2013
Posted 6/14/13

The last time Gelitin had a show at Tim Van Laere they constructed an elevated outhouse atop a bare bones stairway and invited visitors to urinate in it. The pee flowed down through a transparent tube where it collected in a giant yellow bladder of a waterbed on which said visitors were encouraged to recline. Yeah, that happened. As you can imagine, when I recently visited the collective’s second show at the Antwerp gallery I was ready. I wanted to pee on something. Or burn something. Or knock... [more]

20130418075614-two_younger_women_come_in__02 Paint is Paint   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Katharina Grosse at De Pont February 16th, 2013 - June 9th, 2013
Posted 4/18/13

The sky is falling. Bubbles, heavy with pigment, descend from the rafters and settle into an expansive yet cluttered composition, a field of polychrome pathways and possibilities. These sixty-eight technicolor spheres, some more than four meters in diameter, disrupt your sense of scale. Are you a giant witness to some rare celestial phenomenon, some interplanetary cluster? Or are you miniature, a Lilliputian lost in an explosion of fluorescent birthday party balloons? Your wanderings uncover a rack o... [more]

20130416060409-thomasfischer_imagepress3 Choose Your Own Adventure: Art Brussels 2013   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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at Art Brussels April 18th, 2013 - April 21st, 2013
Posted 4/16/13

Planning a trip to art fairs – plural because, let’s face it, where one art fair goes, others are sure to follow – is an exercise in strategic thinking. Tactical decisions balance hopes, dreams, and opportunity costs, and every choice you make could lead you to find, or miss, the best deal, most worthwhile elbow-greasing, sickest party, most enlightening roundtable, or tastiest canapé. The simultaneity of fairs and events within a short time generates a perfect choose-your-own-adventure situation. And Brussels, wit... [more]

20130205163604-erasmus_bridge On Escape Routes and Solo Exhibitions   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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at Art Rotterdam February 7th, 2013 - February 10th, 2013
Posted 2/5/13

I’ve had a soft spot for Art Rotterdam ever since the first time I attended. Pausing to drink a coffee (Illy no doubt) and consolidate notes on what I’d so far seen, I looked out one of the former Holland America Line Cruise Terminal’s giant windows to have my tired gaze met by the spectacular Erasmus Bridge. Visitors, this is my advice to you: no matter how disoriented, claustrophobic, or weary you get collecting business cards and taking mnemonic photographs of artwork you are soon to forget, the... [more]

Interview with Carlos Irijalba  
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2/3/13

Amsterdam, Feb. 2013: Spanish artist Carlos Irijalba deals in reality and experience. His work sheds light, often literally, on the ways that Western culture consumes the world and itself. While viewers often encounter his work to date through film or photography, the substance of his practice is the experience of the event itself. Complex constructions, sculptures, and apparatuses inhabit his oeuvre. Light is a key element, whether shining from the headlights of an unfeasible two-faced vehicle... [more]

20121231213844-kentridge Amsterdam Superlatives of 2012   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 12/31/12

There was a lot to see in Amsterdam in 2012, but for this recap let’s forget about your Kings and Queens and Ultimate Grand Supremes. We’re not like our attention-seeking neighbors with their fancypants dOCUMENTAs and Manifestas. It’s the Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality portion of the evening, folks, and while the following might not have been the best or worst of Amsterdam overall, they were the best or worst at something. So cheers for that. Drumroll please! Herewith, our annual select... [more]

20121222170330-more_love_hours Something We've Lost: Mike Kelley in Retrospective   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Mike Kelley at Stedelijk Museum December 15th, 2012 - April 1st, 2013
Posted 12/22/12

Ever listen to an old soul or funk album and have one of those revelatory “so this is where Coolio got that sample” moments? The long awaited Mike Kelley retrospective at the Stedelijk guarantees a few of these embarrassing, how-did-I-not-know-this realizations. Embrace it, as embarrassment finds a companionable home in Kelley’s work, where youthful traumas, anxieties, and repressed memories come out to play – one of his later projects literally pairs Color Field painting with YouTube videos of humil... [more]

20121119082236-x The Art in the Machine   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Conrad Shawcross at Galerie Gabriel Rolt October 27th, 2012 - December 2nd, 2012
Posted 11/19/12

British artist Conrad Shawcross is perhaps best known for his huge rope-making machines. Part Jean Tinguely contraption, part Erector Set, these enormous, slow-spinning sculptural devices are loaded with multicolored bobbins and are large enough to fill subway tunnels and museum atria. The rainbow ropes they create as a function of their operation are both a measure of time and sculptures in their own right. Galerie Gabriel Rolt, which is currently hosting Shawcross’s first Amsterdam solo show, Fr... [more]

20121026184735-granat3 Light, reincarnate   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Amy Granat at Galerie VidalCuglietta September 7th, 2012 - November 17th, 2012
Posted 10/30/12

Loops of film stock hang from a hook on the wall. Loose film, out in the world, seems wrong. It’s not hidden, light-safe inside a camera, or tightly wound on reels or in canisters. It signals accidental exposure, perhaps a broken recording or projecting device. But there are no mistakes here. The filmstrips are scratched, damaged, punk. There’s intention in their seemingly abusive marks. The violence of the scratches is countered by the lightness of the delicate shadows they cast on the wall. Th... [more]

20120915073408-dsc_8743 A Reader of Materials and a Writer of Forms   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Michael Dean, Aleana Egan, Maria Taniguchi, Emily Wardill at MOT INTERNATIONAL, Brussels September 8th, 2012 - November 3rd, 2012
Posted 9/15/12

A Reader of Materials and a Writer of Forms curated by Lucy MacDonald at MOT International in Brussels is a clever little riddle of a show. You arrive on the scene to find yourself a detective, tasked with deciphering clues and unpacking a story told from the viewpoints of four diverse narrators. Subjective thoughts, words, and ideas are entombed in objects and materials and only your keen knowledge of literary and aesthetic forensics can release them. Yokes, molds, and hollow spaces wait to be fill... [more]

20120906174444-stedelijknieuwbouwjohnlewismarshall_original AMS Fall Previews: the Return of the Stedelijk   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 9/6/12

Over the years visitors have left a number of Amsterdam guidebooks on my bookshelf. Out of curiosity, I recently perused the entries for the Stedelijk, Amsterdam’s modern and contemporary art museum, which has been closed for renovations for nearly a decade. One tells me the displaced museum “will reopen in the original building” in December 2009; another offers the even more suspect “closed until mid-2006.” The misinformation ends here. Let the fanfare commence as I tell you now what these mis... [more]

20120818100504-r968 Collector's Catalogue 2012: The Rabo Art Collection   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 8/18/12

This admission shouldn’t surprise you, but I don’t really like going to the bank. At best, it’s a necessary chore, and an uninspiring one at that. Yet I recently went to a bank of my own volition, stayed for nearly two hours, and enjoyed it. Predictably, I wasn’t there for a sweet deal on my mortgage. Instead, I was visiting the Rabo Kunstzone, the exhibition space of the Rabo Art Collection, one of the top corporate art collections in the Netherlands. Forbes Magazine recently highlighted some... [more]

20120813155616-katarzyna_kozyra__punishment___crime_2002__videostill2 Transgression   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Katarzyna Kozyra at Museum Arnhem June 3rd, 2012 - October 7th, 2012
Posted 8/13/12

For all the talk of how shocking Polish artist Katarzyna Kozyra’s artwork is – her show at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem is called Transgression after all – it isn’t the ostensibly scandalous elements in her work that cross lines. Blood, violence, disability, slaughter, cross-dressing, and all manner of genitalia abound, but the sophisticated art viewer is likely unperturbed by the presence of these offenses. Kozyra’s true crime is her undermining of human autonomy, the way she complicates... [more]

Interview with Maarten Vanden Eynde  
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8/12/12

Brussels, Aug, 2012 - I met up with Belgian artist Maarten Vanden Eynde as he installed the finishing touches on his latest show, The Museum of Forgotten History XXX, at MuHKA in Antwerp. The cacophonous sounds of Jimmie Durham’s lively and exhaustive retrospective echoed from the floor below, linking the two exhibitions, which could not complement each other better. While Durham questions naturalized ideas of geography, nationality, ethnicity, and materiality, Vanden Eynde deals in epistemology, th... [more]

20120806134741-daniel_buren Best of Beaufort04: picks from art on the Belgian coast   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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at Beaufort04 March 31st, 2012 - September 30th, 2012
Posted 8/6/12

“Do you want to look at art in an old mineshaft or on the beach?” This was the question I posed to my boyfriend regarding a long weekend we planned to take in Belgium. Manifesta, whose 2012 incarnation is housed in an abandoned coal mine in Genk, never had a chance. Thus we ended up on the Belgian coast, host to Beaufort04, a sculpture triennial whose strange promotional copy claims it “puts Europe on the map in the Flemish coastal landscape.” Cartographical mystification aside, the show is approachable an... [more]

20120522102337-1 Composing Memory  
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Chino Otsuka at Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie June 9th, 2012 - September 9th, 2012
Posted 7/30/12

When was the last time you looked through a photo album? And I don’t mean Roderick’s “Las Vegas 2012” or Bethan’s “Mainly Eating in March” facebook albums. I’m talking about a real album. One you can hold in your hands that smells of old paper and glue. One where you can hear the crinkle of cellophane as you turn its sticky pages. I’m gonna guess that unless you’re recently married, you’ve probably flipped through an online album a lot more recently than you have a physical one. Our relationship to photographs... [more]

20120730191135-untitled_4_c_anonymous Composing Memory   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Erik Kessels at Foam - Fotografie Museum June 29th, 2012 - October 14th, 2012
Posted 7/30/12

When was the last time you looked through a photo album? And I don’t mean Roderick’s “Las Vegas 2012” or Bethan’s “Mainly Eating in March” facebook albums. I’m talking about a real album. One you can hold in your hands that smells of old paper and glue. One where you can hear the crinkle of cellophane as you turn its sticky pages. I’m gonna guess that unless you’re recently married, you’ve probably flipped through an online album a lot more recently than you have a physical one. Our relationship to photographs... [more]

20120514152144-botanical The Physics of Looking at Sculpture   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Johan Gelper at Ricou Gallery April 7th, 2012 - May 26th, 2012
Posted 5/14/12

If line is the fundamental element in Johan Gelper’s sculptures – be it the smooth, arcing contours of his Spatial Drawings or the sharp, clustered spikes of his Botanicals – then movement is their creative rationale. If there were a physics equation for looking at sculpture it would put the artwork on one side of the equal sign, the viewer on the other: a line in space has potential energy; as we move around to see it in three dimensions, its potential energy is converted into our own kinetic energy.... [more]

20120507084201-two_girls Avery, Anthropologist of Onomatopoeia   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Charles Avery at GRIMM (KEIZERSGRACHT) April 5th, 2012 - June 1st, 2012
Posted 5/7/12

As a grad student I once wrote a paper arguing for the usefulness of drawing in anthropology. Contingent (and seemingly “true”) media like film and photography have long been considered useful for both research and presentation. I posited drawing as a valuable diagrammatic and illustrative tool, as well as a methodological one ideal for creating interactions and functioning as a mnemonic device. After seeing the latest work from Scottish artist, Charles Avery, I’m ready to add sculpture to the a... [more]

Interview with Davis Rhodes  
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4/15/12

Brussels, Apr. 2012: There is a tendency to anthropomorphize the larger-than-life entities that are New York-based artist Davis Rhodes’ paintings. His four-by-eight-foot foamcore panels lean against the wall or stand precariously on an arced edge, given unsolid footing by their warped, paint-saturated bodies. They (literally) drip with agency, their fragile materiality asserting its presence in the gallery and demanding an encounter. They can be obstinate, confrontational. While Rhodes’ earlier w... [more]

20120208202317-20120201172316-hanswilschut The MK Award   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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at Art Rotterdam February 9th, 2012 - February 12th, 2012
Posted 2/8/12

Not typically known for its art so much as its industry, Rotterdam can seem, to the uninitiated, an unlikely art city. But to anyone paying attention, this haven holds its own against historically art-centered neighbors like Amsterdam and Haarlem. One of the best things about Art Rotterdam is that it presents the annual opportunity for the city to bring its exceptional contemporary art scene into focus for visitors both local and global alike. Until last year, no art tour of Rotterdam would hav... [more]

Interview with Aukje Koks  
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2/6/12

Amsterdam, Feb. 2012 - Dutch painter Aukje Koks’ work is full of puzzles. In her unique visual lexicon, mundane objects become potent symbols that pull us back and forth between reality and illusion, between what we can see and what is merely idea. When considering her artwork we first need to know what exactly it is we’re looking at. Some of Koks’ puzzles appear as trompe l’oeil, little jokes that tease us into meditation on what’s real, the signifier versus the signified. Other mysteries manife... [more]

20120108153314-charlotte January 2012 Picks and Openings in Amsterdam   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 1/8/12

What began as a slow trickle of openings kicking off the 2012 art season last weekend turns into a full flash flood of art openings this week. Galleries in every corner of the city open their doors this weekend to welcome in the new year. Here is a list of new exhibitions we’ll be visiting this month. Hope to see you there! Charlotte Schleiffert paints and draws fierce women. Her latest work can be seen in Mr Routledge and the Lions at Akinci. January 14 – February 18. Opening January 4, 17.00 – 20.00 Diana Stigter... [more]

20120102114727-elmgreen_dragset Amsterdam Class of 2011 Superlatives   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 1/2/12

Despite the not-so-fresh quantities of heavy metal oxides still lingering in the air from Oud en Nieuw’s anarchic firework displays, 2012 is minty fresh. Forward-looking Amsterdammers might already be over 2011, but we’re not ready to let go quite yet. Let’s take this transitional time – when last year’s exhibitions have closed and this year’s are yet to open – to further reflect, shall we? Hereby, we arbiters of lowland judgment present to you the anxiously awaited superlatives from the Am... [more]

20111128052038-studio_floor Rijksakademie OPEN 2011   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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Posted 11/28/11

The week of the Rijksakademie has come to an end. Last weekend the institution opened its metal gates to the public for the Rijksakademie OPEN, the annual event in which studios, meeting rooms, and fabrication labs suddenly tidy themselves up, becoming not-quite-white-cubes fit for showcasing the recent productions of the institution’s more than fifty resident artists. The popular event was drawn even more into focus this year following the cultural spending cuts announced this summer. The futu... [more]

Matthew Day Jackson Spreading the Good Word (About Art)  
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11/6/11

Amsterdam, Nov. 2011 - When I turned up at Grimm Gallery in Amsterdam to meet with Brooklyn-based artist, Matthew Day Jackson, I had the unfortunate timing of arriving only moments after a large and important crate of artwork was delivered – a day late and mere hours before Jackson’s multi-sited show, Heel Gezellig, was scheduled to open. For non-Dutch readers, gezellig translates somewhere within the vast yet inviting ballpark of “comfortable,” “intimate,” and “convivial,” and despite the last... [more]

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