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Stedelijk Museum (Bureau Amsterdam)

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Enclaves with double histories

by Nicola Bozzi
The scraped urban aesthetics of the former Soviet bloc seem to be ubiquitous in contemporary art right now. I guess there's nothing quite like a pale concrete block standing against the sky to satisfy our taste for minimalism and tickle our romantic nerves at the same time. But in Elian Somers' work at SMBA wild greenery is perhaps even more prominent than the built environment. In her Border Theories series, the Dutch photographer – and architecture graduate – depicts three Russian cities that sit on the extreme outskirts of the country. Hers is a reflection on urban planning and the way it for... [more]
Posted by Nicola Bozzi on 2/26/13
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Vincent Vulsma, A Sign of Autumn

by Nicola Bozzi
A “sign of Autumn” (in Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century) was the emergence of finance and the increasing consumption of cultural products, which spearheaded the decline of material production. For Vincent Vulsma, it is “the connections between the re-purposing of cultural resources as a means to realize new cultural production and capital’s looting of the productive forces in our current time defined by finance capital.” The pivot of Vulsma's show at SMBA is a Baulè mask, on loan from the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Before being included in the institution's collection, the object has pas... [more]
Posted by Nicola Bozzi on 11/14/11
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In-between Things: Group Exhibition

by Andrea Alessi
Postcolonial theory is not for the weak of heart. Indeed, one of my grad school professors told me his Africanists made a habit of expressly avoiding it in their exams, choosing to focus on “less contentious” topics. Its detractors have argued that postcolonial theory is only useful in discussions of art and literature, and accordingly, one place it often rears its misunderstood head is in art exhibitions – generally with varying degrees of insight and confusion. “In-between Things”, a small group show now on at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, is one such exhibition. While well... [more]
Posted by Andrea Alessi on 7/5/10
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Walker Evans and the contents of his barn

by Andrea Alessi
Walker Evans and the Barn, the group exhibition currently installed at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, takes the iconic American photographer’s late work as its conceptual foundation. Organized by guest curator Jeremiah Day, the show explores documentary art; its practitioners’ overlapping activities of creation, representation, and discovery. The title cites an anecdote in which Evans purchased the contents of a barn filled with old signs and objects, later reinstalling them on a friend’s lawn. De-(or re-)contextualized, these signs were not transformed like Duchampian objects. Instead, Eva... [more]
Posted by Andrea Alessi on 11/28/09