Tag Archives: street

Waiting for Yves

Lunch Break

Inside. On the opening day of the 29th Bienal de São Paulo and artists, curators, gallerists, and critics are manically hopping about from work to work.

Meanwhile.

Outside, in the shade of Oscar Niemeyer’s Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, construction workers take a lunch time nap. Or is this a performance?

DIY Censorship

Public art is always difficult thing to do. You’re never going to make everyone happy. You can’t make everyone happy, but too many artists – or to be precise commissions – try and do just that. Because of that, more times than not, it’s completely uninteresting. If I had to be honest, I’d say most of it is crap. It get’s even more complicated when he artist decides to use recognizable imagery.

That said, one would think that if a mural, that’s been on the side of a building for over 12 years, in the center of Amsterdam none the less, would be old news by now. You’d think. Well, apparently not.

This morning, after a walk into town to witness the spectacle of Queen’s Day, I noticed that someone decided to express their opinion about a mural that’s literally down the street from me.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

Everyone is a critic, but really, you’d think there’d be a better time to express your opinion than in broad daylight, across from a Police station, and on a National holiday.

The message.

The critic, responding to various people expressing their opinions about her critique, from their apartment windows.

The offending work, more or less in its entirety.

Do I like the work? Not really. But that’s really not the point. Is it?

7,000 Pines

Probably more.

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East.

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West.

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Up.

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Down.

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Red.

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Black.

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Old.

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New.

Inside

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After seeing the video report of the Philip Guston show at McKee gallery, by James Kalm, I knew I had to see the show.

I was not disappointed.

Social Observations

Having never studied architecture, sociology, let alone urban planning (a pity in retrospect), I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I missed this classic film by William H. Whyte. I think I’ll chalk this one up to better late, than never. Enjoy.

Context

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A few months ago I moved into a new apartment in my old neighborhood. For the most part things hadn’t changed much over the past 2 years. The most obvious change being the new building on 1e Constantijn Huygenstraat, that replaced the one previously occupied by Smart Projects.

Architecturally, I find the building unimpressive. Red brick, glass, yada, yada, yada. Other than those bold strokes, I never paid much attention to it. I’m usually more concerned with navigating safely through the maze of cyclists, cars, and pedestrians on the poorly designed bike path. I suppose this is why it took me so long to notice that there was something hanging off the roof of the building.

At first I thought it was scaffolding, but then I realized it couldn’t be. Ladders? No. Actually, yes.

But why so many? And why is there one hanging off the building?

Wait, what’s that at the top of the ladder? Ah. That’s it. Art. Public art.

Oh dear.

Initially thinking that it was the work of an anonymous sculpture having a bad day, I discovered, thanks to a plaque on the street, that the artist was anything but anonymous. Here is the text, as it appears:

The sculpture How to meet an Angel deals about hope, support, and the gradual process towards recovery. The figure stands on the highest rung of the ladder, with baggage on his back and arms wide open, looking towards the sky. Ready to leave the clinic, embrace the city and possibly meet a guardian angel.

How to Meet an Angel is charitably designed by the renowned Russian-American artists Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, at the request of Mentrum and developed by SKOR (Foundation Art and Public Space), and has been made financially possible by SKOR, Stadsdeel Oud-West and the Amsterdams Fond voor Kunst. The work of art is specially created for this building: a clinic for psychiatric clients and people with serious psychological problems.

There’s just something about that last sentence. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.

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