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Stedelijk Museum- Amsterdam Holland May 2001

From: JJ
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 30 May 2001


Stedelijk Museum- Amsterdam Holland May 2001

They have some strange work in this contemporary art museum. There are two Ron Kitaj’s, some terrible figurative sculptures, a good wonderwoman video piece, which all make you realize how parochial or arbitrary one’s idea of the canon is.

We, the English, have Kossof, Auerbach, Lucien Freud, Hockney, Peter Blake. They have Karel Appel. He is a pretty terrible expressionist painter, but not as anal as our boys at least. There were rooms full of his symbolic colourful messes which look like Baselitz on a very bad day.

In some other galleries a younger Dutch artist was impersonating the late Alzheimer’s De Kooning. Presumably it would be wrong to imitate late Guston, unless you were a Jewish American.

On the ground floor were a lot of Maleviches which I wanted to see but couldn’t be bothered to look at.

Ed Kienholz’s “ the Beanery” was the most appealing object in the museum, a recreation of a nasty bar in a trailer, with many of the patrons heads replaced by clocks, and everything covered in a treacley dirty varnish, with authentic bar sounds recreated, one feels completely displaced or disoriented when one enters it, like the real feeling of entering a hostile bar, there is a no fags notice above the bar.

It made me wonder. What did it mean? Vietnam etc. How was it made? Was it Ron Mueck-like verisimilitude that made it good? Labour intensive fun-fair gimmickry, or good art. Good because I wanted to examine each figure, their clothes, their hands, to see how, and look at all the bottles, hear all the sounds. Check the newspaper machine outside to see if the Vietnam headlines were real. It was good.

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