Friday, July 7, 2017

Day 2: Amsterdam

Day 2: Amsterdam
Voorlinden in THB's top 5 museums world wide

Weather: Almost perfect, just a touch of humidity
Reginald the Uber guy is waiting outside Pulitzer

Quotes of the Day: Uber or taxi?

The intent of going to Amsterdam a few days before the BAM tour starts was to get over jet lag. BIG SUCCESS! THB got up at 5 am and DB got up around 6:15 am after both going to sleep at 7:30 pm. We’re sparkling compared to how we felt yesterday!
Now a shout-out to EW!! The Pulitzer and the Voorlinden were her recos, both top notch.

Department of full disclosure: pics of Pulitzer FC and breakfast disappeared due to operator error and will appear in the next post (and this post has a ton oh pics anyway)

Department of improvement: VISA always and AMEX most of time are now working with the cc machines just by inserting into the slot and following commands. And now it is easy adding a tip to a restaurant bill. This in just 3 years. It seems to have something to do with the way the US cards are now encoded. No pins required. Sometimes no signature required on a receipt. A real pleasure.

THB went to the two-tiered Fitness Center and did a modified 7 minute workout and 30 minutes on the elliptical. Couldn’t find the remote to turn the (loud) sound down on the TV so had to turn up his nano higher than usual; Bob and Neil and Mick never sounded so good. A first for THB: the elliptical screen was programmed to show you hiking through what looked like hoodads in one of the red dirt states…not bad, though it made THB feel he was hiking pretty slowly.

Breakfast (included) was excellent: THB and DB stuck with the cold buffet; DB focused on the smoked fish and THB on the bread, berries w/yogurt and pastries. Decaf with steam milk.

Our Uber guy Reginald was out front waiting for us on the ride ($72) to the Voorlinden Museum, open less than a year. We opted to spend $$$ to and from the museum rather than much less expensive public transportation and walking, rationalizing the expense helped minimize our limited time by optimizing transportation time.
At the street

The front yard is immense, huge, complete with lake and lawn

The "house" is now restaurant and meeting areas and maybe even rooms...this is just the left side of the house

A short stroll to the museum

Good move! The Voorlinden is one of the top contemporary art museums in the known THB world (admission $17pp). Amazing that THB and DB got to the Bilbao Guggenheim, Pirelli Hanger, Broad, Berardo and Voorlinden within 18 months of each other. All that and Rio O's and Necrotizing Myositis...the boy has been busy!

The museum made the art look great: it has a soft roof which lets in lots of indirect light, the art is extremely well placed (not too crowded, pieces that enhance each other in the same room), and many conceptual pieces by artists that THB is not familiar with and then one of the great Serra steel pieces and a terrific Turrell skyscape. Heaven...right here in the burbs of The Hague.

Lots of pics:

First, a large exhibit from the collection, a series of work having to do with time:

The attributions are near the floor, the walls are bordered with grated wood

Anselm Kiefer trip-tych, behind glass so pics are "glary"

In lower edge is a mini-concrete building, a maquette of the giant ones we saw in Milan Hanger last year

Sleepwalker by Tim Mathijsen; THB was a sleepwalker in his youth. This piece is actually playing a porcelain record that eventually will stop playing as the grooves get deeper and deeper

Das Fragment on sich; Suchan Kinoshita

It's a player piano with the unnecessary keys removed 

Black Kites (Birds of Ill Omen), Arturo Hernandez Alcazar

Shredded garbage bags. 

Pile, Gavin Turk: bronzed garbage bags

Wait, NEOC; ticking alarm clocks wound up every day by staff, signifying the time artist (NEOC) was waiting for docs to give him the test results. For obvious reasons, THB's fave piece in this exhibit: waiting for diagnosis, obsessive collecting, paint splattered table

Data Extraction, Zhonna Katyrova; actual pavement

Side view

Weed, Tony Matelli; note attribution is very low


Untitled, Roger Hiorns; producing foam that ultimately folds over itself and collapses

Pyramide de Cranes, Robert Sandvliet; still life of three stacked skulls

Then from a great set of work by Rodney Graham. In this exhibit, he is a Cindy Sherman type, staging poses of himself in multiple ways. Mostly light boxes.

Dinner break. (Salisbury steak) At first glance, looks like he is playing drums

Fake eyes? Maybe not

Smoke break 2 (Drywaller)

Drips (Studio Wall); oil painting, not light box

Many museums would not leave large blank walls; Voorlinden had several

Finally, work from the collection that is always on display (for obvious structural reasons):

James Turrell drawings for skyscape

The luxurious skyscape

 Leandro Erlich, Swimming Pool, two levels
From above

People standing "in the pool"

From below

Cattelan mini-elevators

Ron Mueck: Couple under an umbrella 
And, the world's greatest living sculptor or just the greatest artist, Richard Serra and the best piece of his THB and DB have seen

On the beach, again

Afterwards, shopping in the museum store and lunch at the museum restaurant (in a separate building): light spicy chicken salads and drinks, $30.  

Wedding poses

No Uber drivers nearby respond, so the restaurant calls us a taxi for the ride to COBRA Museum of Modern Art, out in the burbs of Amsterdam. Around 40-45 minutes, 41 kilometers, $150. Maybe this is why Uber is so popular wherever it goes: seemingly 50 to 75% cheaper and easier to arrange. There is no direct public transportation option between Wassenaar (Voorlinden) and Amstelveen (COBRA) other than going back to Central Station and out again, which would be something around two hours transit time. The hotel told us that for 450 euros (over $500) they could arrange a private car to/from Voorlinden. Even great art viewing has a limit and this was over THB’s. Best time/cost would have been to rent a car for the day. Hmmmm…then THB would have been driving in and out of Amsterdam Central. So, really not best when thinking time/cost/stress.

COBRA was as expected: nothing too exciting, with a review of work from the early 60s; $13/pp admission. 

Ulric Roldanus?

We take the bus back to within a block of the Pulitzer, $11, passing our dinner spot of last night, the 1928 Olympic Stadium, the sculpture park of yesterday afternoon, Vondel Park, and all the famous Amsterdam museums. It’s 4pm, plenty of time to do most of the blog post and watch the Tour de France with the sound off (Wimbledon is on at least 2 other stations also).

172 Bus

Dinner at a concierge reco, Breda, turned out to be a big, big winner. DB requested casual and simple and the concierge came up with casual and great food, simple in that there were only 3 choices, each meal a surprise: basic, extra, and the full monty. We opt for the basic with a few glasses of wine alongside (we asked for two whites and two reds and fortunately they never got around to pouring the 2nd glass of red wine). 

Afterwards, we were thrilled, full, and amazed at the how cheap the meal was based on US standards. Wine by the glass is between $7 and 10. Total with a small tip (10%) added: $150.

Breda, surrounded by scaffolding

Here’s what we had:

3 excellent amuse bouchi, red pepper influenced

Amuse bouchi #2

Amuse bouchi #3, a soup

Herring and caviar and creme freche covered in braised beets

scallops ceviche


leg of lamb perfectly cooked


dessert combo of ice cream and a cornmeal crumble covered in a "foam" custard

After dinner we stroll over to Herengracht looking for our 2014 exchange. We find the block, can’t remember the exact address, all these building entrances look alike. Ahhhhhhhhhh, aging gracefully is a wonderful thing.

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