Going back in time: Daniel Gould’s 3D List, Art in Amsterdam #82

The last issue of the 3D List stated that there were signs that the Amsterdam' Art Market had made a significant upward turn. 3D now fears that that may have been an anomaly. The RED DOTS all but disappeared during the last several weeks. 

There are several initiatives underway to attract people into galleries. At the beginning of the year, it was Crazy Saturday (6th Sept) with about 30 openings. That was followed by the Amsterdam Drawing Fair and more recently Amsterdam Art Weekend. As to the latter, the reception by the public was a mixed one. A few galleries had big crowds and several had minimal ones; and there were few RED DOTS. Fortunately, you still have time to check out what the galleries featured for the event. Many had group shows to show off their stable of artists. They are reviewed below.


Bits & Pieces 

Art Fair:  ART REDLIGHT, 27th - 30th December

Museum Reviews:      "foam," Nobuyoshi Araki 

                                     "huis marseille museum for photography"

Restaurant Reviews:  EEN MAAL, "dinner for one"
                                      Food Court: FoodHallenAmsterdam

What You Have Missed:



This from an article titled, The Art of Xi Jinping, by Murong Xuecun (www.inyt.com, 22nd November). Xi Jinping is the Chinese president and he "made a show of his literary knowledge and explained how he sees the role of art in today's China...Mr. Xi said the emphasis by artists on 'quantity over quality' has led to a one-size-fits-all approach to the production of art. Culture is derivative, plagiarist and stereotyped, he said, it produces 'mechanized fast food' that is full of  'vulgarity and lust.' He instructed artists on how and what to create: 'Use realistic spirit and romantic feelings to illuminate life, deploy light to dispel darkness, and goodness to defeat ugliness. Let people see the good, feel hope, have dreams." Hmmm...food for thought?
Andy Warhol, when asked the question: What is art? replied, Art is Business. " A feud that's shaking gallery walls,"  by Robert Frank, "Inside Wealth," (www.inyt.com
Some like it hot!...and 3D isn't talking about the film---though it was a good movie. I am referring to HOT SAUCES:Mexican, Thai, Chinese, et al. Here is a site which list many commercially available sauces manufactured around the world. It includes their scoville heat rating. Scoville is a rating of the heat of peppers and it rates all the heat in peppers you will find in Mediterranean shops to Indian ones and the Asian stores. https://bit.ly/2Ny33kB
Happy sweating!
A profile article titled Theo Jansen's Life Forms, by Lawrence Weschler can be found as: www.inyt.com , 29th November. He is the creator of the strand beest, the huge self-propelled contraptions which crawl along North Sea beaches. His Amsterdam' gallery is Akinci.
James Lee Burke is one of the best contemporary writers on the American scene. He has written about 30 novels. And he has shown great tenacity in doing so. His fourth book, The Lost Get Back Boogie (1986) was rejected by 111 publishers. Oh, yeah, here is the best part: it was then nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Go figure!
T-shirt spotting: "There is no elevator to success...you have to take the stairs!"
...By golly, by gosh...it's that time of the year again! Nothing is more personal than giving a piece of art as a Christmas gift.. And here are two locations that are offering a wide range of art works, and at very friendly prices:

MLB (Witte de Withstraat 32) sponsors "Kerst PoPuP" with several artists and prices from 5 euro to 50 euro. On the 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st. See site times: www.mlbgalerie.nl 

WGKUNST (M. van Bouwdijk Bastiaansestraat 28) is showing 100 artists with 100 works of art and each and everyone is 100 euro. Check it out on: 13th and 14th December between 12-18:00. www.wgkunst.nl 
Hungarian theologian Marcell Martoffny said, "Nowadays, art doesn't need theology but, instead, theology needs art." 
From my daughter's FACEBOOK page: "Never laugh at your wife's choices...You are one of them." Yeah, that's was true. But WHY ME!

ART FAIR: ART REDLIGHT, Beurs van Berlage 

Gone are the days of shivering while looking at art at the ART REDLIGHT Art Fair, at the OudeKerk. The move to the Beurs van Berlage is very welcome; not only is the building heated but the lighting is excellent, another sore point at the OudeKerk. 

If you liked the KunstRai and the Affordable Art Fair, you'll love Art Redlight. It is really different in its concept. They not only invite artists to rent a booth space, they encourage it. There are about 70 artists showing and less than ten galleries. The result is that you will not be seeing the same old things if you are a regular on the Amsterdam' art scene. Probably because of this you will see much in the way of painters and drawers. Galleries for the last 10-15 years have shown photography and all but ignored these traditional techniques. However there are still many practitioners who keep coming up with a new approach. The quality shown, in these two categories, is first class. The prices reflect a big discount over galleries' prices, too. It's a WIN-WIN!!!

Two things I will single out, if only because of there "uniqueness." Last spring, 3D reviewed KunstRai and pointed out an initiative from Mathijs Booij, who shows at Vriend van Bavink Gallery. He was offering his drawings for one euro a month payable until he retires. He is back and pushing the scheme at Art Redlight. 3D asked how many signed contracts he now had? "206" as of 23rd Dec.

Another almost unique concept, on view, is offered by "My Beerenberg." Two Dutch artists show a sample coffin. They offer the following service: You commission them to do a design for your coffin by suggesting your favorite artist(s) as their theme to work with. You pay 300 euro for the design to be realized; and when the day comes, your family will be supplied with the coffin and the additional cost will be 1,300 euro. What they are doing is emulating a "coffin culture" that is not all that uncommon. Check out the review I wrote for an exposition at MediaMatic a few years back  (www.mediamatic.net/73055/nl/it-makes-death-look-okay, Feb 2009, 3D List #21). At the exhibition, they had 10 coffins which copied the concept of the Nigerian coffins which might be a carved wooden impression of an expensive car, say. In this case, the Dutch artists have refined the idea in a more simple and Calvinistic way, while at the same time rejecting Calvinism's lack of ornamentation.
More info at: (www.beerenberg.nl)

Don't miss this exhibition if you are interested in young artists. You will come away with an eye full....And maybe even with a new work of art for the living room.

The days: 27th December, 11:00-21:00; 28th and 29th December, 11:00-19:00; 30th December, 11:00-20:00. Tickets at 10 euro; children under 12 are FREE. 

For times: https://bit.ly/2L488Lu
Also on FACEBOOK and Twitter.

Beurs van Berlage, (Damrak 243)


"foam," Keizersgracht 401

A major retrospective exhibition for the Japanese Artist Nobuyishi Araki is now at "foam." Araki, since the mid 60s, "has taken tens of thousands of photographs and published more than 450 photo books. His photos are personal, indifferent, random, accidental, prurient, erotic, anarchistic, tragicomic, touching, vulgar and sentimental." That according to the liner notes on the wall of the museum. Actually, left unsaid they are all truly captivating. 

The first gallery features 30 photos from his recent series titled "qARDASE." They are meant to symbolize his feelings toward death. He is now 74 years old. What you see are colorful flower arrangements that include a plastic baby doll, and plastic animals. The imagery is against a black background. He sees things from his position of being in  "decline" and "finds himself in the dusk of his life." The work is riveting

The next gallery consists of nothing but b/w photos and is called a "winter journey." He has snapped anything he found interesting from subway riders to snow covered vistas, ladies and one woman in her coffin (his wife). 

In the third gallery room he does something completely different. He takes his b/w photos of the sky and then paints them in garish colors. Two small galleries, adjacent, are very interesting. One hangs about 1,000 colored Polaroids and most are erotic ranging from pin-up style to fetish to almost porn. The other gallery shows about 300 b/w photos on the same subject matter. He is best known, outside of Japan, for his kinbaku---the art of tight binding. You will see several examples of the art. 

Don't miss the cat! You will see 84 photographs of his cat and from all angles and all views. 

"Alluring Hell" is a conceptual series of "portrait and nude" photographs where the image is secondary. He paints over the b/w shots of women with garish colors arranged in an expressionistic style. The contrast creates much tension. 

3D knew of Araki only through his Amsterdam' gallery, Reflex. I seem to recall that the gallery focused on his fetish work thus this exhibition was a revelation. He is an artist with a very wide palette. His principle style is no one style. He does it all; and he does it all exceptionally well. Until 11th March. www.foam.nl 

(See the Reflex Gallery review below)

"huis marseille museum for photography" (Keizersgracht 401) 

The exhibition is titled, "dancing light." If you are into dance then this is an exhibition that you can't miss. Over 30 photographers/video artists presents dance in every way imaginable. Needless to say, 3D won't try to review the numerous photographers involved, however a few demand attention.

 Elad Lassry (ISR/USA) has created an unusual film centered around ballet dancers. "Untitled (Ghost)" has two major components: The imagery and projection. The film, itself, shows a dancer descending stairs, but there is something strange; we seem to be able to see through her like a ghost that is there and not there. She dances down the staircase and into a room with another six or so dancers and they do a set piece. The other dancers are "normal" in the sense that we don't see through them. Fun! And the projection is done with an elaborate projector. It is a 35 mm projector; however the film's reel is a continuous loop mounted on tubular steel with about ten rows of film streaming from the floor to ceiling---about five meters. 

Paolo Porto challenges form by using the human body in a non-representational mode against a cluttered and destructive background....Xavier Miserach (1937-1998) snaps, in  a b/w series of ten photos, Flamenco dancers...And on the opposite wall there are a series of five photos of a couple dancing on a street in Paris, on the 14th of July, by Johan van der Keuken...Naoya Ikegami (Japan) has captured, on film, the legendary Japanese dancer Kazuo Ohno doing the Flamenco.

What a difference the perspectives make in viewing the same work of art. 3D walked into a room that, at its center, had a two by two meter box standing about 50 cms., high and covered with glass. I looked down and thought, I know this piece. I racked my synapses and it came to me that I had seen---and reviewed---the piece a few weeks back. It was at the BORZO art gallery. But, there, it was hanging on the wall. So what was a charcoal "drawing" doing at a photographic exhibition? The work is by Carlijn Mens and it isn't a drawing per se. It was done by a ballet dancer who was on her toes with slippers coated with charcoal. The person danced in a circular pattern. This was not something that wasn't apparent at the BORZO showing. It also explained why the patterns were oval and not circular. Mens also hangs photos of young dancers that are in the throws of dervish-like movements, everything is in motion and everything is a blur.

If you like dance, you gotta see this show. Until 8th March. www.huismarseille.nl 


EEN MAAL isn't a "restaurant" but a design studio; and "dinner for one" wasn't quiet accurate. At the end of October, I received an invitation to a lunch or dinner "for one." It listed four sitting times over two days. I RSVPed and said they could assign the time. I assumed that if only FOUR people replied the event would be "sold out." The announcement said I would be greeted at the bar and offered wine, champagne and Bloody Marys. Hmmm. I love Bloody Marys. Thirty minutes later I would be seated for a three course meal. 

The time assigned to me was Sunday, at 12:30. Bloody Marys at noon? Hey, I'm a big boy now. I can handle it. And they were good. I managed to "handle" three before lunch. 

I had reserved a place because I had been curious as to the motivation behind the initiative. And, another reason was the experience of having a professional cook prepare a meal for me and only me. Eating like a king is a good analogy. Well, what I got wrong was that, yes, it was a meal for one, at a table for one, but there were other tables, and on two levels, each with about five or so tables, each sitting one. It was not the uniqueness that I had anticipated, but, like I said, the Bloody Marys were good. 

At the bar I talked with Marina van Goor who is the creator of EENMAAL and was indeed the one with the concept for a Pop-Up Restaurant. She is an ex-lawyer who dropped out of the profession, went to the Rietveld, and became a designer. Cool! It turned out that this was an "opening" for a new design by her studio: A Table for One. It is black, simple, utilitarian and elegant. It held each course' serving in a perfect squared frame. The chairs looked solid and a bit stoic, but were very comfortable...or was it the Bloody Marys? The room was right out of the 17th century with a beamed wooden ceiling and intricately painted designs. The rear window overlooked a garden and a large tree dominated. And all this history was accented by avant garde furniture and lighting. 

At the table there was a menu about the size of a slightly over sized bookmark. It was edible; made of cheese cloth. Kid you not! One side listed the three courses and the other side had grated cheese, spices and, I assumed, had been put under a grill for no more than the wink of an eye. It had a nice crunch!

The starter course was two whole glazed carrots with marinated beets, a pickled onion, wild rice & quinoa with a humus puree to accent the combined flavors. There was roggebrood (rye bread) with butter at the side. Everything exerted itself in its own sweet, tart and nutty way, but nothing really stood out. A perfect food composition.

The wine was Chateau de la Roche Sauvignon Blanc, 2013. Fruity, with a tang and perfect for clearing the palate. 

The entree was sea bass which had hit the skillet for about two to three minutes, skin down. The result was a tasty and still moist delicate and succulent fish dish. There was a mashed potato puree very nicely seasoned. Celery and turnip-rooted celery was the veggie; and there was a delectable sauce of mustar buerre-blanc to dip everything into. The plate arrangement was gorgeous. The food: Delicious! It doesn't get any better!

Dessert was  a golden apple with speculaascrumble and an orange flavored heavy cream dotted with rum soaked raisins. Very nice and surprisingly light on the tummy. 

It was a fine dining experience. It would develop that you didn't really eat alone. Those in my room began to interact with comments on each course. A camaraderie developed and made for a cozy atmosphere...or was it the three Bloody Marys? Whatever!

The cost for all this---the menu, three Bloody Marys, two glasses of wine and one flute of champagne was 30 euro. A meal of exceptional quality at eethuis prices. And the service was embecable. I left a tip! 

...And applause for the culinary artists Emmy Ronken and David Veenstra for their mastery of the art of cooking.

One final note. The event was at De Lensvelt HUB (Herengracht 178). You can check out the location during shopping hours and you will see products---avant garde furniture and lighting designs---installations, and exhibitions from various design studios. On the ground floor level is a boutique offering gift items, home accessories,  and clothing. 

More info: www.eenmaal.comwww.mvgca.nlwww.lensvelt.nl 

FOOD COURT: FoodHallenAmsterdam, Hannie Dankbaarpassage

On the 21st of October, FoodHallenAmsterdam opened its doors to 21 independent food stands; each with a different speciality. 3D will outline what food styles are available. Tasting reviews may come at a later date. This list mentions about half of the food stands. The web-site address is listed when available. 

As you enter the food court and starting on the right side, you will see the Spanish answer to fine caviar: Iberico ham. Jabugo offers fine cured hams which are more delictable to suck on then to chew. It comes in sandwiches but also you can buy it by the kilogram. It is expensive! Expect to pay 13 to 28 euro per 100 grams. Sausage varieties include: Lomo, Chorio & Cegina de Vaca. Sandwiches: 4 to 6 euro; assortment plates, 6.60 to 12.75 euro. www.jabugo.nl
Bulls & Dogs: Offers the classic American hot dog but on their own special baked bun. There is also the Texas Hot Link (beef) at 5 euro; It's Not a Dog (garam masala, humus, pop corn) at 5 euro.

Pink Flamingo: Serves pizzas BUT not the traditional. The Che is Cuban roasted pork (marinated in lime juice, garlic, green onions, coriander) and fried banana (3.75/slice; 13.50 whole). Ho Chi Minh is chicken cooked in Thai curry and coconut milk, roasted peanuts, shrimps and fresh coriander (4 euro/slice; 14.50 whole). They also offer their own home brew: Pink Flamingo beer. www.pinkflamingopizza.com
Viet View: is just that! Viet Nam cuisine you have never tried. Total Crush Tofu (stirred fried tofu, hoison sauce, sesame seeds) at 7 euro; Caramelized Pork belly with fish sauce at 7 euro; Steamy Dreamy Shrimp at 6.50 euro. 
Userve Smoothies  + more. Frozen yogurt, breakfast yogurt, crepes (3 euro + 1 euro/topping); waffles (3 euro + 1 euro/topping). 
Wild Moi Pies---a down under treat from New Zealand and Australia. If you have never had a Moi Pie now is the time. They are tasty! Mince beef @ 4 euro; bacon & egg @ 4 euro; lentils and eggplant @ 4 euro; Ladies pie at 4 euro.

Friska is for "wraps." And what a variety. Oh My Goat: goat cheese, beetroot, spinach, apple and walnuts at 4 euro; Sticky chicken: sweet potato, chicken, spinach, carrot cucumber, mint, coriander and cashew nuts. Also shrimp and salmon combos at 4.75 euro. www.facebook.com/friskanl 
The Caulil was designated as the place for "Broodje van de Week," by Het Parool. They offer the ultimate toasty or grilled cheese sandwich. Lots and lots of cheese, a couple of varieties and green onions mixed in (5.50 euro). They have a selection of cheese in bulk chunks like Oude Remeker (35 euro/kg); Sandt-Niklaus Radrete (30 euro/kg). 
Next to this is a BEER stand with 12 selections to select from: Heineken, (2.70 euro); Brand Dubbel Bock (4 euro); Murphy's Irish, on tap (4 euro; New Castle Brown Ale (4 euro); and even the Asian favorite, Tiger. 
Broodje Entrecote---steak sandwich, is just that and priced at 6.50 euro.
Green Brothers offer homemade soup at 5 euro; : "Original Dutch Weedburger" at 8 euro---3D didn't asked what kind of "weed." Veggie Melt, (5 euro); Sandwich humus and grilled veggies (6 euro). 
...Stuck in the middle...is the center aisle for FoodHallen. 
Big Fish offers the "steamed burger" which is meatless. Crispy Fish with pickles and  XO sauce (7 euro); Soft Shell Crabs with wakame and creamy wasabi (9 euro); Fish Soup: Mediterranean with mussels, Gambias, rouille topping ( 6 euro); Thai Style shrimp dumpling, coconut-lime topping (6 euro). 
Next to that is the "Poison Apple." Actually, that's 3D's name for it. There is no sign with a name attached. And sitting on the bar is an "apple" that measures nearly 100x100 cms. And it is a "fancy cocktail bar." And fancy cocktails which can sometimes go down so smoothly that you end up feeling as if you had eaten a poison apple---the morning after....However, 3D didn't sample any of the green or red concoctions. 
3D is in heaven...or something very close to it! Petit Gateau is a sugar sweet paradise with 23 varieties of tarts to select from. Each is 2.50. You will see familiar types: chocolate, custard, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and that's just the ordinary ones. Wait until you see the rest!
...and there are nine mote to come on the next 3D List.

Hours: Opening everyday. From Sunday to Wednesday, 11:00 to 20:00; and from Thursday to Sunday, 11:00 to 21:00. Located between the Kinkerstraat and Bellamyplein - Enter the Ten Katestraat, from the Kinkerstraat, and walk along the right side on the sidewalk and you will see, within 30 meters, the entrance on the right. Enter the Hallen and walk to the center and on the left is the Food Court. 

WHAT YOU HAVE MISSED...but there may still be time!

NEW POSTINGS AS OF: 18th December

There is a "Duo exhibition" at "GALERIE bart" (Elandsgracht 16). Jochem Rotteveel replaces paint with colored tape to fashion both geometric/abstract works in a conceptual imagery. Colorful, but even more to the point, satisfying. He breaks a lot of rules in compositon but the results are rewarding to the viewer. Other works are heavy on typography and reflect the Pop School. (30x20cms., felt pen on paper and framed @ 400 euro; 120x120 cms., tape on multiplx, hardboard @ 2,880 euro)....Vincent Vreeke does oil on linen. The compositions standout because, for the most part, they don't conform with the ordinary. They are abstractions ranging from the minimal to the complex. Sometimes you miss the complex because it is nearly monochromatic, but still with a defined imagery. (24x20cms., oil on linen @ 310 euro; 190x140cms., oil on linen @ 3,310 euro). Until 24th Januaqry. www.galeriebart.nl 
At Reflex Gallery (Weteringschans 79A) the Nobuyoshi Araki retrospective continues, but with very recent work. The gallery gave Araki his first Amsterdam exhibition back in 2002 and this is the fifth show since then. Had it not been for the "foam" retrospective, 3D would still be unaware as to the great variety of styles and subject matters he has worked with over the last 50 years. Generally, this gallery has shown only his erotic work. And if the art of tight binding---kinbaku---excites you, you will not be disappointed with this show. There are several b/w bondage photos and the contrasts and shadows in them enhance both the compositon and imagery. Many stand-out and for multiple reasons. However, one that captures your attention immediately is a bound woman suspended from the ceiling with ropes---like a puppet---and hanging in a very unnatural way (150x120 cms.). The shadows create a sort of frame for the compositon. And you will see the same shot twice. To the left is a series of kinbaku shots. One is the exact same photo as the previous one mentioned, but cropped in such a way that the focus is on only the bound woman (70x100 cms.). 

But there is more. In this exhibition he hangs conceptual photographs shot in b/w but they hard to define. You see what looks like motion photography but also out-of-focus work. You look at images through a shattered window. The perceived subject matter ranges from clouds to city scapes to street scenes. Each one is busy, but captivating. And you can read into them whatever it is you want to read into them. Until 28th February. https://reflexamsterdam.com/
Michael Ryan (NL/USA) is at BORZO with his minimalistic, but complex paintings. The imagery is simple: A vase of flowers or a landscape. But the complexity is in each works' depth perception and all "framed" perfectly in their compositions. There is a casual reference to Piet Mondriaan's Gien landscape paintings, but more vague and subtle than that of the master's 1901-1910 naturalistic period. As to colors, he favors: Indigo, soft pinks, mauves, green and assorted hues of purple. However, the colors never overwhelm his imagery since they tend to be vague---like the imagery---and every aspect blends nicely into the composition's whole. Nothing stands-out...but, yet, everything does. (30x30 cms., oil on canvas @ 2,400 euro; 96x76 cms., oil on canvas @ 6,900 euro; 140x100 cms., oil on canvas @ 9,600 euro) FIVE RED DOTS Until 3rd January. www.borzo.com 
At Red Stamp Gallery (Rusland 22) Marilena Vita hangs her photography and there is both a religious feel and something mysterious in the imagery. Sometimes the mystery is cloaked in darkness; heavy with black backgrounds. Also there is an element of the surreal which she accomplishes with doing a double-exposure. A series of videos captures what Fellini might have done had he gone beyond film and into the shadow world of conceptualism. In fact, she conceptualizes many of her most innovative scenes. A nearly transparent cloth was hung over the video screen  giving the scene a dream-like quality. Antoher work titled "performance" is an animated homage to Man Ray and his Ray-O-Graphs. Vita presented a performance. It was billed as unplanned and with no rehearsal. She innovates as she performs. No performance is ever the same. She was selected for the ORA PRIZE INTERNATIONAL, 2013. Until 10th January. www.redstampartgallery.com 


From the 27th to the 30th of November was Amsterdam's Art weekend. Over 25 galleries participated. The times for all days were extended to 21:00 and 22:00 giving everyone a chance to see a show in their own good time. And there was much to see. More than a few galleries took the opportunity to present a group show featuring artists they represent thus offering those attending a good overview of their program.

RON MANDOS (Prinsengracht 282) was no exception to the group show concept and exhibited 11 artists. Hans Asrsman conducted a tour of the exhibition and Claudia Sola presented the Last Supper, a bowl of soup. And it was tasty! 

What was notable was the fact that nearly everything was an unique style. It ranges from conceptual to abstract to  video to representational---sorta. Rob Johannesma provided the "sorta" with his "portraits." The imagery is more subliminal than obvious. He is basically an abstract expressionistic artist. Many works are nearly monochromatic because they are all red surfaces but nuanced by various hues and shades of red. He shows several works. (60x42 cms., pigments & casein @ 2,800 euro; 76x56 cms., pigment & casein @ 4,000 euro)....In the large front space there are the other ten artist; a few with two or more examples. Here is an unusual conceptual idea by Cludia Sola who hangs The Last Supper (menu II). It is a take-off on a starred restaurants' menu, from soup to dessert and several courses in between. One item was called "Attila the Hun:  steak tartare." Expect the famous and the infamous. Some are jokes, some are observation and some are not discernible. A footnote on the price list says: "Last Supper at your home on request." (74x103 paper, @ 3,000 euro)...Raymond Cuypers has two oils hanging; and best described as linear expressionistic. And there is not a better way to describe these works that sometimes look like a Cy Twombly' work with colors. (180x250cms., oil on canvas @ 6,000 euro)...Jessica Hagy hangs 92 3x5 Index Cards divided into three groups. Each representing a month. They are conceptual ideas and presented in an unusual format. She makes short one or two word observations---reflected at 90 degree angles from each other. You buy by the month @ 2,000....Then, on the floor, there are 38 pairs of tennis shoes with this title: "Read my shoes 1982-2014." All are the same brand; and 37 the same shade of gray or very close to it. Priced at 8,000 euro (3D doesn't know if that includes odorizing)....Charles Joseph Minard shows a copy of a late 19th century diagramed chart which illustrates Napoleon's march into Russia with 422,000 troops and his pathetic exit with 10,000. My summer beach-blanket book, last July, was War & Peace. 3D was able to appreciate the poingnancy of the work. You can order it on line for $14 (www.edwardtufte.com), the deal of the year, almost....The review, to follow, offered the art FREE, but that's another story. Until 20th., December.  www.ronmandos.nl 
FREE art anyone? As 3D has said, prices have come down during the last six years of economic recession. But: FREE? Hey, it doesn't get any better. I reported on an event at WALLS where the photogrpaher Sander Dekker gave away 50+ photos. It has happened again! Somewhere else. 

Joost Benthem has two concurrent exhibitions and both under the sponsorship if VZL/Contemporaty Art.The two shows are at their Brouwergracht (151) location and the other at Keizersgract 481. 3D visited the latter first. I quickly learned that FREE had two meanings: FREE style and you could have a work for FREE. There is a contract that must be signed, but you can read it for yourself. What was hanging was a diverse range of styles and techniques. His two collages were done with a non-collage technique; there were conceptual pieces; and a wall hanging  of 3Dimensional (I reserved that). It is a square with a well defined grid and done with aluminium foil....Well, all this made me curious. On the weekend, I visited VZL homebase. This is where he is hanging his "commissioned" work. And, now, things get really interesting. It is indeed unique! A drawing that looks like a firecracker with a lit fuse and done in charcoal---oopps---done in the ashes of a dead man. His widow commissioned the work. A portrait of a man was executed from making use of the cigarette ashes left in his ashtray. A large constructiion piece has been fashioned from segments of an artist old brush handles. There is a series of six A4 "drawings." The style is simple  and appealing but the forms are assertive. The technique? Well chewed chewing gum. He excepts his "commissions" only after having a dialogue with the one offering the contract. Both shows close on the 7th of December. www.vzlart.nl 
SLEWE (Kerkstraaat 105) has a surprsiing show for one of its artists. Surprising because Michael Jacklin has taken his concept of linear geometric rectanglar abstraction to an opposing point of view. When 3D walked into the gallery, I saw several pieces of metal sculpture formed into concentric circles. My first thought was, someone is doing an homage to Michael Jacklin with circles. I guess I got that right! A couple of pieces could be a configuration of atoms interacting; and others that look like they are under  molecualr scrutiny: circles within circles. Refreshing work! (18x28x28 cms., cortel @ 3,500 euro; 61 cms.,dia. cortel and galvanized iron @ 8,2509euro; 243x72x72 cms., cortel and galvanized iron @ 17,500 euro). Until 27th December. www.slewe.nl 
...And a few doors down at #129 is BMB with the second edition of works from the Rene Marti Collection. His collection consists of 250+ works. In this show the works is basically abstract; sometimes combined with figurative elements. Spanish artists of the 80s and 90s are featured. Horacio Sapere with an oil (165195cms) @ 3,000 euro; Brun Ceccobelli, mixed media (48x93 cms., @ 5,000 euro; Vittorio Roerade, oil on canvas (145x115 cms., @ 2,400 euro). The Dutch artists include Rene van den Broek, oil on paper (90x72 cms., @ 1,300 euro; Kees van Bohemen oil (142x205 cms., @ 18,000 euro; and Anton Heyboer, 110x142 cms., Etch @3,800 euro. Until 20th December. www.galeriebmb.nl 
Cevdet Erek (Turkey) is at AKINCI (Lijnbaansgracht 317) with an exhibition of mixed styles and techniques. Basically he is a conceptualist who expresses the concept in several ways: Print, video, sound, etc. Two works at first appear to be monochromatic. When you get your nose up to the work you preceive a matrix of circles and you hear SOUND. It is the latter that gets and holds your attention. Each work emits 40 seconds of pulsating sound. (Ed. 3 @ 7,000 euro)...FACA is a typographical work consisting of magazines, sketches and prints and is a conceptual montage of rectangles and typography. (1,090x65 cms., @ 24,000 euro). Until 24th January. www.akinci.nl 
...And a few steps down the canal at #314 is LUMEN TRAVO with a group show of four international artists. Franck Bragigand hangs four monochromatic paintings. Each is circular (50cms., dia.). He also molds a crude looking pitch fork and an equally weird "coatrack" next to it...Meschac Gaba has fashioned a rather spetacular sculpture work that looks like a head of hair in dreadnots topped with a crouchetteed "top hat." Also hanging are five bundles wrapped in a country's flag and attached to what looks like a Lacross stick....Ni Haifeng takes banal everyday things like Chinese decorated plates and paterned tablecloths and converts them into conceptual statements....Otobong Nkanga hangs a series of A4 drawings. Until 24th January www.lumentravo.nl
TORCH (Lauriergracht 94) presents Nadav Kander (based in UK) who investagates "the hidden remnants of the Cold War, contained within  a few secret cities on the border between Kazakhastan and Russia." Indeed! These oversized colored photographs of deserted buildings and those that have been bombed are geometric abstractions. Two photos commerate traditional Russian style cemeteries. Until 3rd January. https://bit.ly/2L7qYSK
...And just next door, Jacqueline van der Plaat shows with Patries van Dorst at LIFE-The Gallery (#96). Van der Plaatis a figurative expressionist who paints the female form but in abstract forms. The expressionism comes into play with the colors. Several pieces have collage attachments. Every work is a busy presentation of forms, color, and abstraction fighting it out. (50x60 cms., acrylic, collage, textile on canvas @ 1,300 euro; 145x145cms., acrylic, collage on canvas @ 3,600 euro)...Van Dorst works in ceramic to create works that have a strong organic flavor with their twisting and turnings. Another series consist of ceramic wall hangings which are segmented in various ways; and are very difficult to describe. You gotta see them. Also she does bronze sculptures which are intricate, humorous, as well as simple, and elegant! (40x40 cms., ceramic @ 1,800 euro; 40x40x30 cms., ceramic @ 2,650 euro; 53x55x38cms.,bronze @ 6,500 euro). Until __?__ www.lifeamsterdam.nl 
Galerie Gabriel Rolt (Tolstrat 84) shows Adrina Arroyo who hangs large b/w photographs (162x110 cms.) which captures, intimately, coral, a cave and human skin. You got to look hard at the work to go beyond the abstrction and see the representational forms. A series of reenforced plaster wall hangings are all in irregular shapes and, of course, monochromatic white. A floor piece consist of about 700+ bank notes from various countries arranged in a square grid. Needless to say, it is multicolored and the geometric aspect is both regular and irregular. Nice! Until 3rd Janaury. www.gabrielrolt.com
At FONTANA Gallery (Lauriergracht 11) is the photographic work of Lida Krul; and she mounts an installation. She looks at both photography and film from the conceptual point of view. The installation is about eight meters long and mounted on metal beams which support film reels and the continuous stream of film culminating at the projector and projected onto a screen. She says, "The person who activated the machines is the destroyer of the film and the past." In a sense, the photos---which are blown up individual film cells---mirror this position since they are riddled with bullet holes. The press release says she is "constantly searching for the tension between pleasure and comfort on the one hand and the uncomfortable and feelings of oppresion and suffocation on the other." Until __?__. www.fontanagallery.com 
David Jablonowski (NL/UK) is back at Galerie Fons Welters (Bloemstraat 140) with, well, what? 3D capitulates. How can I describe his latest exhibition in words? I give up...I can't! But...let's start with his conceptual sculptures where some works are more of an installation. There is a five meter long and two meter high wooden wagon from the 19th century which "frames" a collection of Asian bamboo pots used to steam dumplings and thatsPlaystation is an installation by Martin Kaehler. At first, you think the area is undergoing refurbishment. There is a seemingly haphazard array of wood beams, plastic tubings, a marble slab and residue from drilling into plaster/cement. It is a contemporary version of Joseph Beuys.. Until 24th January. www.fonswelters.nl 
Morren Galeries (Prinsengracht 572) shows three artist. Richard Kuiper creates what first appears to be contemporary still lifes with all the usual suspects: flowers, birds, ducks, snakes, et al...Well, you get the picture...almost. Almost because all the mentioned elements are PLASTIC. Some are moleded images of flies, ducks, etc. but others are flowers fashioned from plastic spoons and/or forks and cut-up plastic drinking cups. But you must look closely and study each object to see this aspect. (about 100x150 cms., and  180x250 cms., Ed 3 @ 7,900 euro to 17,000 euro)...Margot Homandoes sculpture work using marble and bronze. Basically, she is a traditionalist whose style would fit easily next to Greek and Roman works of 2000 years ago. She refreshes the imagery with nuances of movement and uses sometimes a conceptual interpretation for posing. (4,500 euro to 32,000)....Giovanni T. Ferroni is a realist with a touch of the surreal. His paintings are meticulous and captivating. Until 25th January. www.morrengalleries.nl 
At Galerie Witteveen (Konijnenstraat 16) there is a group show of 13 artists and it is truly a mixed bag of styles and techniques. Esther Jiskoot does conceptual ceramic wall hangings that look like the piece may have come from outerspace or from the bottom of an ocean (2,275-3,650)...Sam Samiee works with w/c, black wash, and pen & ink with imagery that ranges from a conceptual sunset to a portrait. (700 to 2,500 euro)...Don't miss Paul de Reum's big swan. A sculptured floor piece (111x145x155 cms. @ 9,500 euro). He also hangs drawings and w/c. (1,166 to 1,435 euro)...Diana Blok hangs ten photos and there is a departure from her general style of b/w; all are in color. (Ed 10 @ 375 euro; Ed 5 @ 1,950 euro)....Joyce Zwerve mounts ceramic shards on paper at 75 euro/piece. She also hangs three drawings, in Delft Blue, which are about 40x180 cms., and on transparent paper. (300 euros/drawing)....And there is more...Until 24th December. https://bit.ly/2NR0zdF 
Tanja Deman (Croatia) is at "witzenhausen GALLERY" (Hazenstraat 60) with her oversize photographs. "Her images are visual metaphors that step into puzzling sites and situations layered with history," according to the press release. What you see is panoramic shots of large room interiors and they sometimes become "frames" for the collage imagery like trees and other foillage where you don't expect to see it. Everything is in glorious b/w. Until 2nd January. https://bit.ly/2zCqZwM 
Percipi (Rozenstraat 227) present Celine Struger (Austria) who has created an installation which can be offered as one piece or individually by piece or segment. The objects are basically conceptual works from a few cms., high to a few meters square. It is all about form; and in some case, form becomes substance. Take the floor piece that has a balloon and balanced on it is a steel square grid. There is an added nuance to both its form and depth since the grid cast its shadow on the floor. Other works are geometric/abstractions of form and she expresses each uniquely. (Seven objects priced betwen 50 and 70 euro; 95.8x8.5 PVC pipe is FREE; 1.5x48x51 cms., glazed and varnished stoneware @ 500 euro; Installation, size varies: @ 2,200 euro.). Untill 4thJanuary. https://bit.ly/2xrBKhW
Christel Mitchell is hanging a portrait "history" of someone named "Gisel" who is a cross-dresser, with big breast, and "I like my cock. I don't want a pussy. Not yet. I mean...it does look good. I would like a great looking pussy."  Whatever! The show, at Melkweg Gallery,  is provocative and appeals to our voyeuristic tendencies. Giesel is a complicated person. Drugs are at the center of his/her universe. The "his" part is emphasized by a photo of his penis and the dichotomy of  the "her" is noted with her large breasts. In between, all the b/w reality, there are pithy statments---and handwritten---which gives us insight into this troubled person. "The drugs will always be there. I need them. I can't live without it. It replaces things in my life I don't have; my family, the pain of my past. I think the hurting is overwhelming." Giesle is into self-mutilation and photos picture him/her with slashes. Mitchell said that she was able to "bond" with Giesel on a certain level which explain how all the horror, emotiion and reality comes through these captivating photos. Until 4th January. www.melkweg.nl
 Mathew Murray (UK) is at Vassie's temporary new location: Keizersgracht 82 with an array of color photographs. He is a photogrpaher that concentrates on the unusual amongst the banal backdrop of our society. He looks for places where there is a "happening" happening: focusing on a Star War's fan at a Star War function; people visiting a religious theme park and watching a reenactment of the crucifiction (Holy Land Experince, Orlando, FLA); or a Wonder Woman look-a-like on the streets of LA. You will see landscapes that appear as wastelands under cloudy skies. A montage of 16 small photos are a delight. He emphasizes form, color and contradictions in composition. There is a series of male portraits, too. Simply, the variety of subject mater comes down to "every picture tells a story."  And you'll like the humor. Everything in living color. Several come in three sizes and priced accordingly. (75x100 cms., C-print, Ed 10 @ 2,800 euro; 40x50 cms., C-print, Ed 6 @ 1,400 euro; 22x17 cms., C-print, Ed 20 @ 175 euro). www.galleryvassie.com
A group show is featured at Galerie Roger Katwijk (Lange Leidsedwarstraat 198) with 19 artists. And it's an outstanding group show because of the great diversity of painted styles and techniques:  Representational, abstract, gemetric, conceptual and monochromatic. Then there is the metal work. Bart Kelholt stands out because of the sheer quanity of small iron rectangular pieces, all 15 are wall hangings. Other names include: John O' Carroll, Jim Harris, Wim Claessen, Bert Loerakker, Jar Ko, et al. (price from 1,000 to 12,000 euro. Until 11th January. www.galerierogerkatwijk.nl 

What to make of the Amsterdam art scene? Well, for one thing it needs YOU! Go to a gallery and fall in love. That's what art is all about. A love affair with an object, but an object that projects emotion and soul. If you feel it, then you gotta have it. Simple!

Photo: Nobuyoshi Araki in Foam