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Andrea Alessi

20141024112240-dandelion_lamp Photo Report: Inside Dutch Design Week   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/23/14

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]

20141010103219-destroy How to get an honest opinion about your artwork   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Jonas Lund at Boetzelaer|Nispen September 6th - October 11th
Posted 10/9/14

"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." "DESTROY." 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]

20141008115632-orangerie_kassel Documenta 14 to be held in Athens   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/8/14

Documenta, hosted in Kassel, Germany, every four or five years since 1955, announced yesterday that 2017’s documenta 14 will add a second host city: Athens. The mega-exhibition won’t abandon its Kassel home, but rather will run its signature 100 days in both locations. Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk hopes this gesture will address “the current social and political situation both in Europe and globally, which motivates artistic action.” Rather than dislocate the art world institutio... [more]

20141005172344-unseen_talent_billboards A Different Kind of Fair Vibe: Specialization Rules at Unseen, Unfair, and Amsterdam Drawing   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/5/14

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]

Forgotten time capsule found in Boston lion sculpture  
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9/25/14

via Wikimedia Commons When copper statues of a gold lion and silver unicorn were installed above Boston's Old State House in 1901, the majestic creatures weren’t the only objects left for posterity. Inside the lion’s head was a sealed copper box filled with “things that will prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence,” wrote The Boston Globe at the time. The future is now. Earlier this month the lion and unicorn sculptures—emblems representing the b... [more]

Robots Lost at Sea: Tracking an Artwork Adrift in the Atlantic Ocean  
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9/24/14

On September 9th, a robot was released into the Gulf of Mexico, set adrift in the Gulf Stream. Off the southern tip of Portugal its transatlantic counterpart awaits sendoff into the strong Canary Current this week. Once offshore, these passive robots—floating spheres one-meter in diameter with sensors submerged below sea level—will be left on their own, without human intervention. Their mission: to unite in the middle of the Atlantic, carried only by currents and the forces of nat... [more]

20140905173811-katie_paterson_mg_0183 The Margaret Atwood Book You'll Never Get to Read  
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9/5/14

Word of Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library made the rounds this summer when the artist launched her 100-year-long project to build a library literally from the forest floor up. Future Library is back in the news again after it was announced this week that the first author to contribute a new work to the library will be none other than Man Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood. Paterson is known to think big—on a geological or even astronomical scale. She embedded a cell p... [more]

20140904164646-still_life_with_fish_and_forsythia-1 Art critic pattern blindness: On ignoring trends in Amsterdam this September   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/4/14

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]

20140828064348-bandaged_ear_comparison Too Much Van Gogh: A journey from 3D to 2D and back again   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Vincent Van Gogh at Beurs van Berlage May 24th - December 24th
Posted 8/28/14

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]

20140702165411-onzichtbare_man__1_-_michiel_voet How to Depict the Invisible Man?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Michiel Voet at Nieuw Dakota June 15th - September 7th
Posted 7/2/14

One of the most remarkable images in the Jeff Wall exhibition currently at the Stedelijk Museum is the constructed photograph After "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, The Prologue (1999-2000). Ellison’s nameless protagonist sits in his underground hideaway, surrounded by 1,369 light bulbs illuminated by currents rerouted from Monopolated Light & Power. To counter his invisibility he surrounds himself in light. And if the world doesn’t want to see him, he’ll exploit that, thumbing... [more]

20140425083244-hitosteyerl_how_not_to_be_seen_a_fucking_didactic_educational_mov_file_2013_9 How not to be eaten by an out-of-focus monster: A fucking didactic educational exhibition review.   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Hito Steyerl at Van Abbemuseum April 12th - June 22nd
Posted 4/25/14

“I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that's extra scary to me. There's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run, he's fuzzy, get out of here.” – Mitch Hedberg Mitch Hedberg’s enduring Bigfoot joke is predicated on a misunderstanding that conflates image-making technology and distribution with real world appearances. It’s the same one that Berlin-based writer and filmmaker Hito Stey... [more]

20140409133755-safe_from_harm_2012_c_richard_mosse__courtesy_of_the_artist_and_jack_shainman_gallery__new_york Can war photography be beautiful?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Richard Mosse at Foam - Fotografie Museum March 21st - June 1st
Posted 4/9/14

“Are you an artist or a journalist?” Marcel Feil, the Deputy Director of artistic affairs at Foam, wasted no time getting to the big questions. The recipient was Richard Mosse, who had arrived in Amsterdam that morning for the installation and opening of his exhibition The Enclave. Once the jokes about typical Dutch candor died down the Irish photographer swiftly dismissed the idea that he might be a journalist: “I’m an artist, though I’ve got documentarian blood.&rdq... [more]

20140303002605-installation_view2 F.A.T. Lab, F.A.T. GOLD Europe: Five Years of Free Art & Technology   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Mike Baca, Aram Bartholl, Magnus Eriksson, Michael Frumin, Geraldine Juarez, Katsu, Tobias Leingruber, Greg Leuch, Golan Levin, Zach Lieberman, LM4K, Kyle McDonald, Jonah Peretti, Christopher “moot” Poole, James Powderly, Evan Roth, Borna Sammak, Randy Sarafan, Becky Stern, Chris Sugrue, Addie Wagenknecht, Theo Watson, Jamie Wilkinson, Bennett Williamson, Hennessy Youngman at MU | Witte Dame November 13th, 2013 - January 26th
Posted 3/2/14

I crouched down, picked up a marker, and tried to remember the illegible scribble that used to be my “tag”: a gesture of sharp points and steady curves punctuated by a strategic line slashed through the whole inscription. In high school I would trace it onto book covers and notepads and think I was cool. It came to me eventually, the first delivery unsteady as I carefully considered which shapes fit where; in a second, more successful attempt, I let my arm do the work, confidently forging... [more]

20131231113020-mondrian_girls1 Amsterdam 2013 Superlatives   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/31/13

By a contingency of scheduling, our Amsterdam 2013 superlatives always seem to get published at the start of 2014. That’s okay. This hangover week, as we recover from festivities, resolving to eat lentils and drink lots of water, is as good of a time as any to reflect on the year past. The galleries prepare to open; the work we’ve put aside tiptoes from periphery to center. Sure, we could fall right back into pensive reviews and editorial, but instead, let’s have one last recap to... [more]

20131219075549-cutaways Phantoms Inc.   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Agnieszka Kurant at Stroom Den Haag December 1st, 2013 - February 23rd
Posted 12/19/13

Did you know that in the 1920s a con artist sold the Eiffel Tower – twice? Or that Spain and Portugal once claimed discovery and settlement of the same nonexistent island? That MoMA might own an artwork by Marcel Broodthaers that isn’t an artwork at all? Collecting this sort of fun factoid is all in a day’s work for Agnieszka Kurant, the New York-based Polish artist who is equal parts scholar, editor, necromancer, and philosopher. In her interdisciplinary practice, stories, rumors, and... [more]

20131120170614-prixderome2013-torenbosch-9007 And the winner isn’t…   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Christian Friedrich, Falke Pisano, Remco Torenbosch, Ola Vasiljeva at de Appel Arts Centre October 25th, 2013 - January 26th
Posted 11/20/13

The 2013 Prix de Rome exhibition at de Appel in Amsterdam got me thinking about payoff, the rewards of looking at art. I’m not mad at “Museums as Playgrounds” or Banksy – as far as I’m concerned, if you’re getting people into museums or talking about art, that’s a good thing. Nor do I think anyone would accuse me of hating on difficult art. For me, one of the best parts of writing about art is pushing myself to be more open minded, to spend time with art, str... [more]

20131004224324-zombies The Photo and the Filing Cabinet   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Adam Helms at Almine Rech Gallery September 6th, 2013 - October 29th, 2013
Posted 10/4/13

In his seminal 1986 essay “The Body and the Archive”, Allan Sekula argued that photography, bolstered by notions of veracity both for and by its scientific and legal usage, could be an apparatus of power used for social categorization, repression, and criminalization. He demonstrated how in the nineteenth century the photographic archive, an epistemological, systematizing institution, came to designate a “criminal body” constituted as much from police photography as from... [more]

20130926063302-cf8d44a4a13a721af0b65b6efaade779 Lost and found in translation   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Olga Balema at Galerie Fons Welters September 7th, 2013 - October 12th, 2013
Posted 9/26/13

Acoording to ayou are here but she isrelease Thursdayby theateam consisting of the plancute fordoexperts foundoutanoilslick True story. And while we’re still perplexed, let us ask: What do rusty metal fountains, stretched leggings, and elongated latex hands have to do with translation? For that, I direct you to Olga Balema, whose cryptic solo show Body of Work is currently installed in Galerie Fons Welters. If it sounds like I’m being snarky, I’m not. The work, which centers on... [more]

20130914211545-20130909184048-hiorns Fall Preview: Bittersweet Nostalgia in Amsterdam   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/14/13

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]

20130910184712-kgee140 Fall Preview: Brussels Art Days   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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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]

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