art amsterdam and its satellites
commentary and images by Karin Bos
published 31 may 2008 Bohemian Aesthetic e-zine, Los Angeles
amsterdam dispatch | volume 1 • number 2
The latest global phenomenon has reached us: an explosion of satellite fairs during the week of the always much-anticipated Art Amsterdam.
It’s the 24th edition of Art Amsterdam (formerly known as Kunst-Rai). This year, there are 125 participating galleries, of which are 33 from abroad; so, as every year, despite its ambitions, Art Amsterdam is mainly a Dutch event. As a result, for me as a regular participant-slash-visitor, there are no surprises, no discoveries that blow me off my feet. Everybody knows everybody; therefore, it's more of a networking event than an inspiring quest for the unknown. I did, however, see some beautiful small paintings on wood by someone I didn’t know, yet: Martin McMurray, at the booth of Gallery Nouvelle Images from The Hague.
Next to Art Amsterdam there’s the Temporary Museum Amsterdam. It’s the third edition of an imaginary museum which creates a parallel program to that of Art Amsterdam, using the entire city as a floor plan. To visit this ‘museum’, one might need a bicycle to attend all 18 participating art institutes; but, at the end of the day, exhausted visitors may crash at the Mediamatic Sleep Inn performance, and spend the night, for free(!), on a stretcher.
One novelty is Satellite Station, an offshoot fair at W139 Basement, where seven blue-chip galleries present large scale installations. While at Art Amsterdam most booths are stuffed with far too many artworks that could fit in the trunk of one's car, for business reasons, at Satellite Station, the galleries present only non-sellable pieces. It's a welcome addition; and, hopefully, there will be another edition next year.
Last but not least, there’s the Kunstvlaai. It’s the seventh edition of this alternative art fair, which looks more like a carnival or festival. On the premises of the Westergas factory, 75 non-commercial artists initiatives and 15 MFA schools present non-established art. Unfortunately, most artists there decided that the main quality of art is that it has to make noise and move. In such cacophony, it's difficult to find high quality art, and most participating artists are too young to have developed a unique style.
Looking at the paintings, one can easily tell which famous artists are in vogue at the Dutch art schools. (The Belgian artist Luc Tuymans is, apparently, still hip.) But, none of the visitors do seem to mind that, the Kunstvlaai is just a very lively and well-attended party where all enjoy themselves, surrounded by art, drinking beer in the sun.
|Kunstvlaai Amsterdam 2008|