Sunday, 23 January 2022

as is, as was / as was, as is

Together with contemporaries Jan Dibbets amd Marinus Boezem, Amsterdammer Ger van Elk (*1941 - †2014) produced an extensive body of multidisciplinary works falling within the range of conceptual art and arte povera. Exhibiting in his native city as well as New York and Los Angeles with the Tate among other prominent modern museums upholding Van Elk’s works as the chief representatives of this movement, many pieces include the themes of reflection on and reference to art history.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

the new normal

On this day in 2003, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fielded questions during a press conference, including Charles Groenhuijsen a Dutch reporter from Nederlandse Publieke Omroep, who spoke to the mood of reservation and doubt in the coalition of the willing: “But now the European allies. If you look at—for example—France, Germany also a lot of people in my own country … [I]t seems that a lot of Europeans rather give the benefit of the doubt to Saddam Hussein than Geroge Bush. These are US allies. What do you make of that?” After some prevarication, Rumsfeld replied, “Now you’re thinking of Europe as German and France. I don’t—I think that’s old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the East.” Heralded later as the German Worte des Jahres—altes Europa—it was embraced by many politicians as a badge of integrity for their well-founded skepticism and reluctance in contrast to what some regarded as opportunistic realignment for New Europe.

Friday, 5 November 2021

kwade zaterdag

Also known by the titular “Evil Saturday,” Saint Felix’ Flood (Sint-Felixvloed) occurred on this day in 1530, inundating and washing away significant parts of Zeeland and Flanders, reportedly taking over a hundred thousand lives. The only surviving municipality was a city called Reimerswaal, whose residents witnessed and endured the destruction, which itself was depopulated after repeated storms, considered a lost city, remnants are buried under the delta works (see also) and major construction project the Oesterdam.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

in the stacks

Prising important insights into the professions of curation, conservation and circulation, a storage facility in Rotterdam is opening its doors to visitors to allow them to peruse the museum’s entire collection, the ninety percent of the art and artefacts that their formerly public-facing galleries could not accommodate, we discover via a thematic round-up from Messy Nessy Chic. We really liked this idea to invite guests behind the scenes and hope that this sort of programme expands.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021


Named after the tarot card, the psychedelic design collective based in Amsterdam, The Fool, and influenced by the hippie community of Ibiza (see previously), whose costuming for stage and album cover art include iconic outfits for Procol Harum, Cream and the Beatles, as seen in televised broadcasts of “All You Need is Love,” the Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper’s inside graphics plus the largest mural in the world for a performance of Hair at the Aquarius Theatre. Much more at Messy Messy Chic at the link above.

Monday, 30 August 2021


headgear: Languagehat is no longer neglecting the latter portion of its remit 

on seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning: a pair of short stories from Rysuke Hamaguchi adapted for film  

aggregate accessory fruit: the curious, circuitous route of the misnamed garden variety strawberry  

like astrology for businessmen: a look at the Myers-Briggs personality test 

strokenteelt: see strip cultivation at work in the Netherlands 

erm: a discussion on intonation and a hummed “I don’t know”

Wednesday, 25 August 2021


Via fellow internet caretaker and turophile, Nag on the Lake, we are directed towards this thorough, wholesome and circumspect guide of how to serve and store almost any sort of cheese from an expert cheesemonger.  The pictured painting is called Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels (Stilleven met kazen, amandelen en krakelingen), created by Dutch artist Clara Peeters circa 1615.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

le pont de trinquetaille

Seeing that on this day in 1987, a Van Gogh (previously here and here) of a bridge scene in Arles fetched a then record twenty million dollars at auction made me reflect on a recent podcast episode about the individual responsible for the artist’s posthumous and compelling fame promoted out of necessity and circumstance, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger (*1862 - †1925), widow of theretofore Van Gogh’s greatest champion, his brother Theo, and sister-in-law who had acquired a great deal of the then worthless works and against the advice of friends and family brought them back to their native Holland from Paris after losing her husband. In order to provide for herself and her child, Van Gogh-Bonger collected and edited an epistolary exchange and between the brothers and family biography, helping to establish her brother-in-law’s fame and reputation, as well as arranging exhibitions, helping to define not only Vincent as a celebrity but the attendant marketplace of the art world as well.

Sunday, 27 June 2021


into the bantaverse: a bot ghost-writes a Star Wars story—see also  

green guerrillas: the role that radical gardeners play in fostering community out of urban blight  

earth, wind and fire: combine basic elements and create new substancesas an alchemist—via Waxy  

fourth world: celebrating the life and career of trumpeter and electronic music pioneer Jon Hassell (*1937)

in frame: see the untrimmed, original version of Rembrandt’s Night Watch (previously) thanks to the help of a curating algorithm   

homo longi: recently discovered ‘dragon man’ skull may be a transitional species from Neanderthal to modern humans  

ine bay: hidden, historic boathouses (ไผŠๆ นใฎ่ˆŸๅฑ‹, funaya) in Kyoto—via Nag on the Lake’s always excellent Sunday Links 

the skeleton crew: our friendly artificial intelligencer (previously) trains a neural network to write a horror story

Monday, 31 May 2021


The always intriguing and enlightening Maps Mania refers us to a suite of tools and tracers to help us visualise the huge among of marine traffic that passes in and out of the North Sea bordered by the Low Countries and Scandinavia, the waters off Belgium far exceeding the throughput of either of the shipping industry’s great corridors and potential bottlenecks, the Panama and Suez canals. Especially interesting is the data-driven scrollytelling from the financial daily De Tidj (pictured) which shows the activity and congestion of navigable routes along with the dredgers that keep the trade routes open to traffic.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

one year gone

One year on from the violent murder of George Floyd, we are reacquainted with the award-winning cover for de Volksrant newspaper’s Saturday Supplement from Noma Bar utilising negative space to illustrate people rallying in the streets over this injustice and inhumanity.  Indisputably a harsh and discomforting reality that many are made to cope with on a daily basis but a sobering and eye-opening experience for all.  Thanks to Duck Soup for the timeline of events that occurred in the aftermath of Floyd’s death and their enduring impact.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021


Via friend of the blog Everlasting Blรถrt, we thoroughly enjoyed pouring of the details of Carla Gannis’ 2014 digital art project that replaces the
religious allegory and iconography of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (see previously here and here) with a more secular and contemporary vernacular, the collage exploring modern vanities and consumerism. Much more at the links above and the short video on the exhibition below. Check out all three panels compared with the original and let us know your favourite emoji substitutions.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021


First spied by Super Punch, we are referred to a nice appreciation of the recently departed, prolific Dutch artist Cor Blok (*1934), particularly well known in the Netherlands for illustrating J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (In de ban van de Ring) in the early 1960s.

Later creating a tapestry out of Middle Earth’s characters to showcase his repetoire, Blok went on to become docent of the school of modern art at the University of Utrecht from 1977 to 1999, retiring as professor emeritus at the University of Leiden.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

de twee bruidegommen

Passed by the Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer) of the States General and affirmed by the Senate during the December before, same-sex marriage (Homohuwelijk) became legal in the Netherlands on this day in 2001, the first country in modern times to sanction and recognise marriage equality. Registered partnerships were introduced on New Year’s 1998 as an alternative for homosexual couples, which under the law convey the same rights, duties and responsibilities as matrimony, and have since become nearly as popular as civil marriage among heterosexual couples as well.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

radio caroline

Named after the daughter of JFK photographed dancing in the Oval Office and interpreted by the founder and chief backer Aodogรกn Ronan O’Rahilly (*1940 - †2020) as representing the playful disruption of government business and joyful rule-breaking, the pirate broadcaster (see also) that was never actually circumventing the law as it operated from international waters aired its first regular programme set on this day in 1964—transmitting from a retrofitted passenger ferry anchored off Felixstowne, Suffolk, just beyond the jurisdiction of any one who could object to their activity. Established like its Dutch and other European counterparts to undermine the monopoly that the BBC had over the radiowaves and the pressure that record companies exerted on stations, dictating that their popular songs dominate, Radio Caroline broadcasted from five different ships through 1990 before moving to satellite radio and community AM bands in select areas, continuing today on the internet. Limiting programming to day time hours so as not to interfere with Radio Luxembourg, the station, with news reports at the top of the hour, was extremely popular with homemakers and children and left a lasting impression and alterative from mainstream commercial music. Do give them a listen.

Monday, 22 March 2021


mรธbler, belysning, rumdesign: another dip into the iconic designs of Verner Panton—see previously  

fortuitous numbers: a few sums with the rare property where a number equals its letter count multiplied together 

avondklok: a photo-essay on the curfew in Amsterdam during the heights of the pandemic  

digital only trainers: Gucci is selling a virtual sneaker for augmented reality photographs  

yoshizawa-randlett system: rocket scientists and engineers are turning to origami for inspiration 

screen-time: a comic panel from 1997 about high school in 2021 A.D., see also

in memoriam: a pair of obituaries celebrating the life and work of designer Zeev Aram from Things Magazine

Friday, 12 March 2021

portrait of the artist as a young woman

BBC Culture showcases the Flemish Renaissance painter Caterina van Hemessen (*1528 – †1565) through the lens of her 1548 self-portrait which is the first known depiction of an artist—of any gender—at work at the easel. Certainly knowing her art history, van Hemessen’s reflection, projection has a definite correspondence to Albrecht Dรผrer’s 1500 work. As in many professions at the time, the certification and apprenticeship process was biased against women joining the ranks of artists with curricula consisting of studying cadavers and vivisections and the nude male form—places where women had no access to—it was difficult to find a sponsor and teacher, making female painters exceedingly rare, though in Hemessen’s case it was her father that taught her, Jan Sanders van Hemessen—renowned as well for introducing Italian, romantic influences to the Northern Renaissance.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

impasse des deux frรจres et le moulin ร  poivre

Never loaned to a museum or displayed to the public in its hundred and thirty-year history, this Van Gogh work from his Monmartre period when the artist lived in Paris with his brother Theo has been in private hands and only now previewed ahead of its auction. Having developed an intensive interest in ukiyo-e woodblock prints in Antwerp and hoping to experiment with Japonaiserie with his new circle of acquaintances, this landscape (absolutely rustic in comparison to what the neighbourhood is today), represents a transition in style when Van Gogh started to adopt elements of pointillism and bright clash colours. Ahead of its sale, the painting is slated for short exhibitions, with due precautions, in Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Paris.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

mercenary pirate

Our gratitude to TYWKIWDBI (indeed) for reminding us about the etymology of the practise of political stonewalling wherein a parliament, congress or other legislative body obstruct a proposal by talking it to death, which ultimately comes from the old Dutch vribuyter meaning plunderer (a freer of booty) with the antiquated intermediate English term freebooter. Eventually such mendacious piracy came to refer to the unsanctioned—that is operating outside the government in a fashion similar to a soldier of fortune but strictly working for oneself—in hopes of fomenting revolution and installing a regime more amenable to one’s business or trade interest, particularly said of United States citizens acting as agent provocateurs in Latin America (previously) in the nineteenth century, but this is of course a recurring role for the USA. It passed in the vernacular as a campaign by extension to block or delay the passage of legislation with tactics to buy time (see also)—that is squander it. The procedural remedy for filibustering and taking up floor time and leaving the opposition with no recourse is cloture, but this termination of debate usually requires more than a simple majority to move on it.

Saturday, 6 March 2021


di grattacielo con le bretelle: Milan’s Brutalist Torre Velasca  

sixty songs in three and ½ minutes: the Hood Internet (previously) presents 1995  

razor banks: the rather macabre antique bathroom wall slots to dispose of dull blades in the voids between walls 

through the looking glass: vis-ร -vis the above, a tenant finds hidden rooms behind her medicine cabinet in her New York City apartment—via Super Punch  

superior mirage: walker in Cornwall spots a ship floating aloft 

in your bubble: contemplating quarantine in the Bolwonigen globes of ‘s-Hertogenbosch—see previously