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And stuff..

I think this month is going to be crazy. We just got back from a week sailing around Majorca, my cousin has rocked up on our doorstep, we have the festival of colours, it’s the Kreuzberg Culture Carnival, there are a couple of public holidays ripe for the frolicking, there’s an ‘Institute Day’ and Summer Party plus the world is going mad getting it’s Spring On!

So let me finish telling you about last month.

Back to Amsterdam:

Day Three, and Andy and I headed to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s answer to the Tate Modern.

They had some pretty amazing stuff there, including a room of ‘Scandinavian Art’ which was pretty much the prototypes of every single item Ikea has ever sold, plus a room just full of awesome and funky chairs- which made us think of Mr J. Russel and his soon-to-be chair fame.

They had this, which reminded me a little of Mondrian:

 and, low and behold- some actual Mondrians:

Did I ever tell you that I’m passionately in love with Mondrian? 
Two years ago I sewed myself a replica of the YSL Mondrian dress and wore it on Christmas day, and when we went to the Tate in 2009 I spent 20 minutes just gazing at one of his trees. I really love how you can see across time the progression of his art from the more exact to the more abstract, I think the simultaneous flow and boldness of his lines is beautiful, and I’ve always had my heart sold on that red-black-white combinations.
Of course there were many different art flavours for all you unique little butterflies out there.
I imagine if I had a lot of money I would put this in my guest room:
And I supposed if I didn’t have a lot I could imitate a garden with something like this (which I think was fairly unoriginally named as ‘california garden’ or something). Andy’s look says it all. Silly, silly modern art.
And, for the man who has everything. A paperweight! 

 With which he can reflect upon his magnificence.

This next piece Assaulted me as I turned a corner. I immediately knew the devil for what it was, and thousands of repressed memories flooded back.

In 2009, Ashlee and Lauren and I visited Versailles, one of the most beautiful and renowned palaces in the world. We were excited to behold the historic wonder. There was supposed to be gaping and gasping and oohing and aahing after all the treasures and richness and antiquities.

Instead, we got ‘Jeff Koons in Versailles’.

It featured such modern art atrocities as: a vacuum cleaner (I believe in Marie Antoinette’s bedroom), a giant inflatable pool lobster (hanging from the ceiling of course), and a life size gold statue of Michael Jackson reclining with his pet monkey bubbles.

I suspect we have never collectively hated something so much.

(Although there was a rather funny moment when our audio guide explained to us that a certain room contained the most precious gift ever given to Louis, and we all turned around and pointed at the massive Balloon Dog statue standing behind us – http://www.art-magazin.de/asset/Image/KUNST/aAusstellungen/koons-versailles/20080910_L1040854_ar.jpg)


Thankfully only the one that I could be nauseated by.

Oh and there was a Warhol. And a group of people who suddenly saw a name they recognised and became instantaneously contemplative.




 Also this:

(Although I may have thought it was just a really cool wall decoration for a modern art museum to have, and not an actual exhibit, and may have been rather curtly told off by one of the security guards for getting too close. It’s almost as if they don’t appreciate my appreciation).

 More in the black and white theme:

Something beautiful that Andy and I both rather loved (it’s a bit Starry Night-ish)

And this, which I think was taking the piss. I was convinced that they were phallic, and was quite shocked to see that the thing actually owned up to it, instead of being all coy.

 Ah, I just hate it when I have the ‘boat full of penises’ dream.

 And now, for something a little more Yonic:

 Something ugly that my cat could make:

 And something absolutely fabulous, which could have come out of the imagination of Chas Adam’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s lovechild:

I guess it’s just a matter of taste.

Some people clearly don’t have any.

The featured exhibition at the time was Mike Kelley (http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/40051/exhibition-mike-kelley), a man who rather obviously had a somewhat screwy youth. Many of his exhibits involved toys or dolls or children, but always made warped or disfigured or unnerving.

One display contained TVs with static, which would occasionally flash on with short Youtube clips showing some kid or another being traumatised in small ways. It wasn’t really for me- but some of his stuff with lights and colours was interesting:

Krypton from Superman. (Also known as ‘just another phallus’)

 These two images kept on switching between the two screens- you can check it out in the movie on the page I linked.

There was also a very creepy video of him dressed in a dress and girl face mask and dragging himself around the floor. Andy was convinced it was going to get better. I was convinced I was ready to leave.


But before we leave the museum- a final beautiful thing- there was a long corridor, filled with rainbow faces and their famous words:

Cool huh? Maybe I’ll have this for the spare room instead of the ink.

Once again, the day was getting on a bit, so we didn’t have time to visit another museum. So instead we headed to the Apple, a very tiny little gallery, that contains this shiny treat:

A wall (and part of the ceiling), containing thousands of glowing orbs that fluctuated through oranges, pinks and purpled-blues, imitating a perpetual sunset.

That evening we went on the Red Light District tour, which gives a fairly interesting insight into how the area became what it is today (how the district co-evolved with the religious and business parts of the city), how the operations are run (for the maximum health and safety of the girls)
and also looks into the future, and the possible repercussions of the Amsterdam governments currently underway initiative to ‘buy out’ and transform many of the windows.

Fun times, and a good chance to have a quick look at the sex trade if you’re not really into indulging in that side of things. Plus, as always, the view is quite lovely.

In fact, we were blessed with slightly more view than we’d expected- egged on by his friends, one guy stripped to his boxers, dove into the canal, and swam to the other side.


I am shocked he didn’t get impaled, tetanus, or hypothermia.

After the tour, we treated ourselves to some much deserved dinner at Umami.

The food was frankly delicious. We ordered a kind of semi-degustation, which allowed us to pick two-each of the dishes for each course, plus rice and noodles.

 It was fabulous-  we bathed our tastebuds in the many things that we had not eaten for months in Germany: seafood, lamb, beef, curries, and it was all as tender and succulent and umami-filled as you could ever hope for! Can you not see the glazed look of satisfaction in Andy’s face?

A pretty great way to end the day!


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