Museum Voorlinden

Museum Voorlinden is a new museum, by Dutch standards, having opened in 2016. It’s a a wonderful modern pavilion purpose built as a home for art, it’s surrounded by a garden designed to have flowers in three seasons and be interesting in all four seasons. The collection is modern and has at its base the private collection of Mr. van Caldenborgh.

Museum Voorlinden (source: Cordeel, the construction company)

The exhibition space is light an airy, with a specifically designed ceiling so that the gallery space is bathed in light. There were three exhibitions on view. The first is called “Less is More“, a sort of play on art meeting minimalism. Some of the pieces focused on impermanence, some on humans vs their environment and some explored the materials such as Trans-for-men (my favourite piece in the exhibition). This exhibition is on until January 2020 – so you have time!

The second exhibition I saw was a joy, an exploration of fabric and architecture. Do Ho Suh, a Korean artist, is fascinated with space and each piece is infused with colour.

And finally, the exhibition I was most curious to see, I’ve wanted to see Yayoi Kusama’s work for ages. Her power with colour and shape, her ability to visualise in any medium is so impressive. She’s been copied and underestimated forever, and it’s relatively recently – thanks Instagram! – that’s she’s started to have the sort of universal recognition her genius deserves. I was not less impressed for having seen so many images of her work.

I’ve wanted to see Yayoi Kusama’s work for years, so when I saw there was an exhibition on at Museum Voorlinden i rushed off to see it, I was a bit slow noticing so ended up going in the last week. The two other exhibitions I saw are still on, but hurry for Do Ho Suh, it ends on until 29 September.

How To Visit

Address
Voorlinden museum & gardens
Buurtweg 90
2244 AG Wassenaar
The Netherlands

Getting There
isn’t easy!
I cycled from the centre of the Hague which took about 25 minutes, the only public transport option is bus 43 or 44, to the Wittenburgerweg Wassenaar stop, but there’s a 20 minute walk from there to the museum.

Ticket Prices
Adults € 17.50
13-18 year-olds € 8.50
under 12 free
NOTE: Museumjaarkaart is not valid

Opening Times
11 am to 5 pm

I recommend buying your ticket online before your visit.

Art on Sunday

I went to see the wonderful “Coded Nature” exhibition from StudioDrift at the Stedelijk Museum. The image above is one of their ShyLights. They dance above your head and as they float down they open up like a flower, the movement is gentle and mesmerising. The perfect thing to do on a Sunday afternoon

Here’s what the room full of ShyLights looks like. Everyone stays in this room for ages, watching the lights glow and dance, their faces filled with wonder. Everyone gives into the temptation to lie on the floor and watch the lights from below, and it’s amazing – until the vigilant museum stuff come in and ask you to move. Apparently the light on the floor is part of the exhibition and by lying on the floor we are ruining it for others. IMHO the one ruining it for others was the grumpy museum guy.

The title of the exhibition is Coded Nature and there’s one piece that seems to be a commentary on our destruction of the earth, it’s a long film showing floating concrete blocks drifting through the air forming large structures until nature is obliterated. And in the next room is one of the concrete blocks – a drifter – floating, un-suspended  in a huge room.

I’ve followed Studio Drift’s Instagram account for a long time, and I’ve been fascinated by the “fragile futures” sculptures. So it was really cool to see an installation of fragile futures, be able to walk around it and get up close to the tiny dandelion lights that make up the sculpture.

The exhibition filled me with wonder, it’s that intersection of art and science, it’s beautiful and kinetic and well worth visiting. I might be back next weekend.

The exhibition is on until the 26 August, and it’s free for museum card holders, or €17.50.

Rijksmuseum Summer Garden

Every summer the Rijksmuseum garden turns into a sculpture exhibit. This year the works are by Jean Dubuffet and from the Stedelijk Museum’s collection. The sculptures are bold, colourful, playful perfect for summer. Here are my two favourites from the gardens this year.


Arbre Biplan (version III)

“Tree Biplane”, this is the first large scale sculpture he made and he was still experimenting with the epoxy materials to find ways to make large scale sculpture. I walked around this several times, because there’s no symmetry the view changes, I love the contrast of the random shape of the sculpture against the formal architecture of the museum.

Le Deviseur I (The Chatterer)

He looks like he’s ready to chat, but there’s also something throne like about his chair. This is a sculpture I would love to have – in the fantasy garden of my fantasy mansion.

The exhibition is in the gardens until the 1 October 2017. There are also daily workshops for kids in a marquee in the garden (probably in Dutch, but hey it’s a craft project kids can figure out instructions). If you want to see more Dubuffet Stedelijk Museum is also exhibiting paintings from its collection (until 24 Sept).

 

Animals at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is filled with animals at the moment! They’re on loan from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden and they’re accompanying an exhibition of works by Frans Post, sketches and paintings made during his time in Brazil. In many cases the exhibition displays a stuffed version of the animal next to the sketch. You can see the precision of Post’s work. Here’s the Capybara, positioned under an oil painting view that includes a capybara.

Capybara and Frans Post paintingThe exhibition is on until 7 January – so hurry up!

In the main entrance hall there are animals from other places to admire – including a pair of polar bears looking down on you.

polar bears

Amsterdam is so Cool

Keeping cool at Museumplein thanks to the fire brigade who turned the pond outside the Rijksmuseum into a water feature.  Only one word for it… “superleuk”.

Dining with the Tsars

tsars_cameo

Dining with the Tsars is the current exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam, it’s a small exhibition of some of the beautiful dining sets used at the Russian court, with a lot of information about court practices, etiquette and menus. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon visit.

The dish shown above is from the “Cameo Service“, which was commissioned by Catherine the Great and presented to her lover Prince Grigory Potemkin. It’s beautiful, the astonishing turquoise colour is created by using multiple firings with a copper glaze. To make the set Sèvres had to find new manufacturing techniques.

Dining with the Tsars main hallThe museum has, as usual, done a magnificent job creating the exhibition. The main hall has a series of tables set as if for dinner, each setting is slightly different, and you are able to get very close to the tables. The smaller rooms upstairs have information about the manufacturing, the dress, dining protocols and history. There are also a couple of additional services, including one given by Hungary to Stalin. Contrary to my expectations of a communist leader, Stalin entertained lavishly and used the service.

The exhibition is open until 1 March 2015, and it’s 15 euro entrance fee (or free if you use your Museumkaart).

The Trapdoor at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum designed by Cuypers was built as a “gate” to Amsterdam, as it stands just outside the line of the 18th Century city walls. It balances the Central Station, at the other end of the city, and also designed by Cuypers. It houses some of the most important artifacts of Dutch history and the famous of Dutch art, including the Night Watch. Here’s a view of it showing the gate structure at its centre, the Night Watch is displayed directly over the arch.nt_rijksmuseum2

The Night Watch went back into it’s former position when the Rijksmuseum was re-opened  – one of the few works not to be moved.

It’s considered the most famous painting by Dutch people, it has such cultural significance that it has its own escape hatch at the museum. A guide told me that there’s a trap door just in front of the painting, and the painting can be dropped to safety. The black section here is apparently the outside part of the trapdoor.

nt_rijksmuseum

The trapdoor wasn’t installed for the renovation though, it was installed in the early 1930’s, and used in 1939 to removed the Night Watch before the art-acquisitive Nazis arrived. The painting spent the war in hiding, as did a number of artworks from the Rijksmuseum. The museum could re-open following the war with an almost intact collection.

Bad Thoughts at the Stedelijk Museum

Minds out of the gutter – it’s an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.

It’s a selection of works from the personal collection of Martijn and Jeannette Sanders, who started collecting in the 70’s. Because it’s a personal connection, built on personal appreciation of works rather than curated to an imposed standard, it’s rather quirky. They discuss their collection in a short interview taken in their own home.

The exhibition includes paintings, mixed media, installations, video, sculpture and photography. It’s some of the “new greats” in art, and worth seeing. The exhibition is on until 9 November 2014, you can buy tickets on the museum’s website.

The Silk Road

camelsilkrouteI visited the Hermitage again, this time to see their “Silk Road Exhibition; Treasures from the Hermitage“.

The Silk Road stretched from China to Europe through various central Asian countries, it crossed borders, cultures and languages allowing trade for centuries. It’s a fascinating route – the cultures and languages along it are diverse and so are the treasures in the exhibition.

There are a pair of merchant’s trousers, which means you’re looking at silk that was woven more than a thousand years ago. Wall frescoes from many of the trading station have been restored and show the legends of the time. There’s a wall of coins from across the route, and there are figurines whose faces show the diversity of people involved in this most famous of trading routes.

The artifacts are beautifully presented, with good information about the treasures. It’s set up so that you can travel “east to west” or “west to east”, which is a nice touch reflecting the travel on the Silk Road. Although few traders travelled from one end to the other – instead going back and forth between trading posts.

What I missed was a sense of context, the exhibition focused on the discovery and recovery of the artifacts by various Russian explorers. I care less about that than the culture behind the frescoes, the people who traded, and the babble of the marketplace.

The exhibition is on until 5 September 2014, daily from 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost 15 euro, although entry is free with a Museumkaart.

 

Van Gogh Museum turns Forty

In 1973 the Van Gogh museum was opened, this video clip made at the time shows the paintings being bought into the new building, unpacked and hung. Museum staff used paper cut in the same size as the paintings to arrange them. On the opening day Queen Juliana and Vincent William van Gogh, the artist’s nephew, viewed the paintings.

vangogh

Until the new museum was built the paintings were held as part of the Stedelijk collection, the commentary of the movie is only in Dutch but the commentator begins by saying that “Amsterdam has built a museum for one man, and is busy with the installation of 230 paintings and 500 drawings from the one man”. Neither Rembrandt nor Vermeer have their own museum, perhaps reflecting the limited number of works available rather than their status.

The museum was added to in 98/99 with new exhibition space designed by Kisho Kurakawa – that’s the round building on the Museumplein side – and has just had six months refurbishment.

It was the most visited museum in Amsterdam every year from 2008 to 2012, but that may change this year with the re-opening of the Rijksmuseum.

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Note; I would have embedded the video, but the code provided uses an iframe which is a risky way to share content and not accepted by WordPress, so sorry – you’ll have to click the link!