Category Archives: culture

cobra museum (amstelveen)

Childlike innocence, bright colored paint and bird-like abstractions. The current exhibition at the Cobra Museum (Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen) reveals shared fascinations on the parts of both Paul Klee and artists of the Cobra movement for the wondrous, imaginary world of the child. This in-depth exhibition at the Cobra Museum reveals shared fascinations on the parts of both Paul Klee (1879-1940) and artists of the Cobra movement for the wondrous, imaginary world of the child.

Over 130 masterpieces by Paul Klee and 120 by Cobra artists (Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille, Eugène Brands, Asger Jorn, Pierre Alechinsky and others) can be seen in this this exhibition.

The exhibition ‘Klee and Cobra: A Child’s Play‘ is centered around five themes: the imagination of the child, fantastic animals, acrobatics, masks and aggression.

“Visitors will experience how both Klee and the post-war Cobra artists translated the free expression of children into radical new art, which still today remains colourful, spontaneous, raw and pure” (Cobra Museum).

Cobra Museum (Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen) is easily accessible from Amsterdam Centraal Station. Take either Tram 5 (stop: Amstelveen Binnenhof) or 51 Metro (stop: Amstelveen Centrum). The museum is Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.

huis marseille (amsterdam)

Huis Marseille, located on the beautiful Keizersgracht, is one of my favorite museums in Amsterdam. Housed in a 17th century canal house (yes, another one, see previous posts on Museum Van Loon and Museum Willet-Holthuysen), Huis Marseille is a small photography museum that opened its doors in 1999 (and was Amsterdam’s first museum to present photographic exhibitions on a permanent basis). Click here for more about the history of the museum.

It’s forbidden to take photographs in the museum, so I thought I would give you an impression of the beautiful garden (another one to add to the Quiet Amsterdam list!)…

On display right now are the exhibitions ‘Siebe Swart: Land of Air and Water‘ and ‘Naoya Hatakeyama: Natural Stories,’ both until 26 February. The Siebe Swart exhibition is really beautiful, I definitely recommend for anyone interested in the geography of the Netherlands or with the Dutch and their relationship with water (you can see a few photographs of Swart through the window in the photograph below)…

Huis Marseille is located on the Keizersgracht 401 and is open Tue-Sun from 11am to 6pm. Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.

visit paris (the hague)

Yes, I know it says ‘Amsterdam’ Insights, but this is really an exhibition worth traveling for (The Hague is only a 40-minute train ride from Amsterdam!) The Gemeentemuseum itself is worth a visit – “the museum was [Dutch architect Hendrik] Berlage’s final masterpiece; his crowning achievement of red-brick design” (Art Holland). The museum opened its doors in 1935 and now holds one of the world’s leading collections of fashion items as well as an impressive modern art collection that includes works by Mondriaan, Picasso, Monet, Cezanne and Kandinsky.

The exhibition on display until 29 January is ‘Paris: City of Modern Art.’ The Centre Pompidou in Paris has loaned forty of its top works for this special exhibition, which includes famous masterpieces by such artists as Kandinsky, Brancusi, Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Giacometti, Léger, Braque and Delaunay. Here’s a selection of a few of my favorite pieces from the collection on display…

How beautiful are the colors in this painting by Henri Matisse?

Color drawings by Karel Appel…

Marcel Duchamp’s bicycle…

And colorful paintings by Robert and Sonia Delauney…

The Gemeentemuseum is located on the Stadhouderslaan 41 in The Hague and is easily accessible with the 17 tram from The Hague Central Station (in the direction of ‘Statenkwartier.’) The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.

museum van loon (amsterdam)

Just across from the photography museum Foam (Keizersgracht 609) (see previous post), you’ll find the Museum Van Loon (Keizersgracht 672). The museum is named after the family Van Loon who lived in the canalside home in the 19th century – the Van Loons were active merchants and Willem Van Loon co-founded the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) in 1602. The house was designed in 1672 by architect Adriaen Dortsman, and the artist Ferdinand Bol was the first to live there. You can now visit the home as it must have been when the family Van Loon was living there from the late 19th to mid-20th century. The garden itself is fit for my previous post Amsterdam Insights: Quiet Amsterdam

The house is much like Museum Willet-Holthuysen (Herengracht 605) (see previous post), where you can also visit the many rooms of the home including the kitchen…

The rooms…

We noticed that this house had many quirky details, like paintings as wallpapers…

Excessive prints…

And hidden doors…

Museum Van Loon (Keizersgracht 672) can be visited daily from 10am to 5pm but closed on Mondays. Additionally, the Coach House is open every hour for 15 minutes by the museum staff from 11.30am through 4.30pm. Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.

saul leiter at the jewish historical museum (amsterdam)

Oh Saul Leiter, you’ve stolen my heart… The other week, I visited the Jewish Historical Museum (Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1) for the exhibition, ‘Saul Leiter: New York Reflections.’ I saw a preview of the exhibition during Museumnacht on November 5th, but I hadn’t done the exhibition justice. Visiting for the second time was well worth it.

The American photographer Saul Leiter (Pittsburgh, 1923), son of a rabbi, was destined to follow in his fathers’ footsteps. However, his growing interest in art lead him to abandon his religious studies and move to New York. He started painting, influenced by his friend, the abstract expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart. His abstract paintings were quite beautiful and quite reminiscent of the work of Willem de Kooning of the Abstract Expressionists of the 1940s-1960s…

Inspired by the work of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and his friendship with American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, Leiter took up photography. He began associating with other contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank and Diane Arbus and helped form the ‘The New York School‘ of photographers of the 1940s and 1950s (according to Jane Livingston)…

In 1948, Leiter began experimenting with color photography. Today, he is known for his painterly color photographs taken between the years 1948 and 1960.

“Amid the hectic life of the city he captured tranquil moments of everyday beauty. He was able to transform mundane objects – a red umbrella in a snowstorm, a foot resting on a bench in the metro, or a human figure seen through the condensation on a pane of glass – into what has been described as ‘urban visual poetry'” (JHM).

His near-abstract photographs are really beautiful, unlike anything I’ve seen before, the colors so bright, the composition so ‘different’…

“I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege. That is how I think I learnt to see what others do not see and to react to situations differently. I simply looked at the world, not really prepared for anything,” said Leiter (Lens Culture).

The exhibition (on display until March 4th, 2012) includes 60 color and 40 black-and-white photographs (a sample of street photography, fashion photographs, paintings, and painted photographs). The recent documentary about Leiter by the British film maker Tomas Leach is also featured in the exhibition (see a preview here). You can also buy the third edition of Early Color, the first book of Leiter’s photographs, compiled in 2006 by Martin Harrison of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (the first edition here).

And if you’re in the area, why not stop by Soup en Zo or Tony’s NY Bagels on Jodenbreestraat for lunch? For more things to do/places to visit in the area of the Jewish Historical Museum, check out the post Amsterdam-Oost. Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.

museumnacht (amsterdam)

On Saturday, November 5th, 45 museums across the city of Amsterdam opened their doors from 7pm to 2am for the 12th edition of Museumnacht, or “Museum Night.” It’s no surprise that tickets sold out the morning of the event (26,000 tickets!) Here’s a map of the center of Amsterdam and a list of museums that participated in this years’ Museumnacht…

With so many museums to visit, so many different lectures and workshops and exhibitions to explore, multiple performances and DJs to see… It was hard to decide on where to go. The first museum on our list? The Tropenmuseum (Linaeusstraat 2), one of Europe’s leading ethnographic museums. The exhibition, “Death Matters,” wasn’t quite the upbeat start to the night we were looking for, so off we went…

To the newly opened Tattoo Museum (Plantage Middenlaan 62)!

The best part? Mexican bites and drinks in the outdoor ‘barn,’ accompanied by a Johnny Cash tribute band named, “Boys named Sue” and line dancing…

From there, it was a short bike ride to the Jewish Historical Museum (Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1) for a brief glance at the new exhibition, “Saul Leiter: New York Reflections,” a listen to New York jazz yet heading out before attempting to bake bagels or pimp tshirts…

From there, we were off to the Van Gogh Museum (Paulus Potterstraat 7) for a quick walk past through the permanent collection (you know, just hanging out among the Sunflowers and The Bedroom, no big deal) and a sneak peak of the new exhibition, “Snapshot: Painting and photography 1888-1915” while Superstijl pumped out tunes on the main floor…

So much going on at Foam this week! After the exhibition “What’s Next? The Future of the Photography Museum” opening at the new Vijzelstraat location and the Keizersgracht location on Friday evening, we decided to visit the Foam Pop-In for the last time at the Museumplein (the location closed that evening), for a performance by Vancouver-based musician, Dirty Beaches

A little tired at this point, we made up back up to De Oude Kerk, or “The Old Church” (Oudekerksplein 23) in the Red Light District for a Brazilian-themed party of caipirinha’s, Brazilian music and samba and other wild art installations, as well as live Brazilian waxing (not so sure how I felt about that part…)

And last but not least, a visit to W139 (Warmoesstraat 139), a place for contemporary art in the old center of Amsterdam, where Red Light Radio presented Moon & SunSafe SwimWasted Years Of Pumping IronClub Hope,Hallo? Met Ben Penn and Firestone

It was a great evening, can’t wait for next year’s Museumnacht already. Visit n8.nl for more Amsterdam museum-related tips throughout the year.

foam & foam pop-in (amsterdam)

The other week I visited the (no longer on display) exhibition “Still Life: Contemporary Dutch Photography” at Foam, one of the photography museums here in Amsterdam.

Foam can be found at the Keizersgracht 609. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, Thursday and Fridays till 9pm. This location of Foam is currently closed till November 5th, when the museum will reopen for the exhibition, “What’s Next? The Future of the Photography Museum,” by guest curators Jefferson Hack (founder of Dazed & Confused magazine), Alison Nordstrom (Director of Photographs at the George Eastman House), Erik Kessels (co-founder of KesselsKramer) and Lauren Cornell (Curator of the New Museum). More about the exhibition here.

In the meantime, you can visit the Foam Pop-In at the Museumplein (Gabriel Metsustraat 2-6), open till November 5th. Here you’ll find a large selections of books, posters and other publications (including the famous Foam Magazine) as well as a temporary exhibition. Here are some photographs of the Foam Pop-In from my visit with my sister

As if one pop up museum isn’t enough, Foam Lab has just recently opened an exhibition, “Foam Talent,” at the Vijzelstraat 78 (open daily from 10am to 6pm and Thursdays and Fridays till 9pm). This exhibition features 15 young artists from around the world, and will be on display till December 15th.

And if you haven’t gotten enough of Foam yet (as I surely haven’t!) stop by on Museumnacht or ‘Museum Night,’ November 5th, for great events at all 3 locations. Subbacultcha! is teaming up with Foam – there will be performances by Dirty Beaches and DJ zZz at the Foam Pop-In, Stellar Om Source and Jeremiah Jae (and more) at the Keizersgracht location, and other bands (and a Youtube dance floor) at the Vijzelstraat location. Don’t miss out on this great evening!

Click for more Amsterdam Insights, published every Wednesday.