What local readers doubtless know, but visitors from our ArtSlant sister cities might not, is that the Netherlands is a small and rather efficient place. One could easily spend more time getting from Chelsea to the Upper East Side or from Shoreditch to Kensington than traveling from Amsterdam to Utrecht, Rotterdam, or the Hague. Granted, it’s very flat here and, despite the locals’ complaints, the trains by and large manage to run on time. (Dutch readers, I challenge you to ride public transportation in the US; I will then receive any remaining grumblings you might have about the NS.) Despite each city having its own cultural identity (and to be honest, the major cities vary in football team allegiances more than anything else), I tend to think of the conurbation comprising the cities listed above, the Randstad, as one art scene with a lot of different neighborhoods.
This week, our Amsterdam correspondent, Nicola, travels to the not-so-distant city of Rotterdam, bringing us tales from a submarine wharf transformed into both a hyper- and sur-real world of solitude. As I’ve pointed out before, there is much for an art lover to enjoy in this industrial and edgy port city. Take a day trip (or two!) this summer, and check out some of the following:
Follow Nicola to the Onderzeebootloods (Submarine Wharf) where the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset recreates a mysterious world similar to our own. “The One & The Many” until September 25th.
It’d be hard to miss the omnipresence of public sculpture in Rotterdam. Check out Sculpture International Rotterdam for a map and more information about the city’s impressive public artwork collection. And if you happen to be on the Coolsingel at noon during the next twelve months, don’t miss the daily performance of “It’s Never Too Late To Say Sorry,” an Elmgreen & Dragset work installed in conjunction with their show at the Submarine Wharf.
Rotterdam is also home to world-class museums such as Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Kunsthal Rotterdam, currently featuring retrospectives of American painter George Condo and Dutch photographer Eddy Posthuma de Boer, respectively. Until September 25th and August 28th.
Conjoined Wittedewithstraat art centers Witte de With and TENT are staples of the Rotterdam art scene. A solo exhibition of Lara Almarcegui’s work concludes at TENT this week, while Witte de With presents a conceptual group show, “The End of Money”, through August 7th.
These institutions are only the beginning of what you’ll find in Rotterdam, which is further packed with galleries and art spaces such as Dek22, Mama, Het Wilde Weten, Singer Sweatshop, V2_, Phoebus, Hommes, Zic Zerp, and the design gallery Vivid. And for the homesick Amsterdammer, many Amsterdam galleries, like Ron Mandos, Cokkie Snoei, and V!P’s have Rotterdam outposts.
(Images: Courtesy Submarine Wharf; Courtesy Kunsthal Rotterdam; Courtesy TENT.)
~Andrea Alessi, a writer living in the Netherlands.