Renowned for its quaint canals, rampant bicycles, and exceptional tolerance, Amsterdam is also home to a vibrant art scene that spans world-class museums, dynamic galleries, and emerging artists. While it’s often overlooked among art capitals, the city fosters a growing number of galleries, most of which are relatively young and form an inclusive, supportive network, marked by strong European programs, thoughtful, intellectual curating, and high quality exhibitions that live up to the notable neighboring institutions. Amsterdam Art Weekend celebrates this close-knit art community and its many players, welcoming the international art world to its varied and vital art spaces and presenting a program of events, activities, and openings to delight art enthusiasts and serious collectors alike. Whether you’re lucky enough to attend or not, find below the highlights of Amsterdam Art Weekend 2014.
1. When? Where? How?
Amsterdam Art Weekend takes place November 27–30, across the city. The majority of activity will take place in four neighborhoods: Jordaan, Centrum, De Pijp, and West. Gallery openings are free and open to the public, and will be open on Sunday, November 30—an exceptional situation.
2. What is Amsterdam Art Weekend?
For one long weekend every November, the city turns into an international meeting place for promising and renowned artists, art enthusiasts, collectors, and professionals. Over four days, galleries, museums, art institutes, theaters, and artist residencies coordinate to put on a program of exhibitions, performances, film screenings, and talks. At its core, Amsterdam Art Weekend is a means to promote a city and its arts community.
3. Why visit?
Amsterdam Art Weekend is an opportune time to relish in the art of the BeNeLux region—which is frequently not given much appreciation until it leaves the city. The Rijksakademie, located in the city center, is one the most interesting and progressive art schools in Europe, and many of the artists who graduate from the institution have their first commercial shows in Amsterdam. The weekend serves as an outstanding occasion to see and discover high caliber art and artists that are not necessarily making the international art fair rounds.
4. What galleries and institutions are participating?
Amsterdam Art Weekend showcases the small yet meaningful gallery scene, featuring 27 top galleries; among them, a few galleries to look out for are Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam, Annet Gelink Gallery, Grimm, and Akinci. The weekend also engages the numerous museums and nonprofit spaces that are central to the art scene and the city. Among them are Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, de Appel arts centre, FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, and EYE Film Institute Netherlands.
5. Museum Exhibitions in Amsterdam
Several exceptional museum exhibitions coincide with the weekend’s events. While in town some shows that are not to be missed include:
“The Museum is a Battlefield (Part 2)” performance by Hito Steyerl at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
“Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography” at FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
A rich program of talks, performances, and events will take place throughout the weekend, at galleries, museums, and other venues across the city. Some highlights include:
“Paradocs: Amsterdam Art Weekend at IDFA” at EYE What: The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam teams up with Amsterdam Art Weekend, Amsterdam galleries, Rijksakademie, and De Ateliers to present screenings of 13 recent video works. Artists whose works will be featured include Frank Ammerlaan, Nathaniel Mellors, and Yael Bartana. For a full list of works and screening times, visit IDFA. Where: EYE Museum, IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam When: Nov. 28, 6–8pm; Nov. 29, 2–4pm; Nov. 30, 2–4pm.
“The World Inside the Art World” Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam at De Balie What: Alongside Stedelijk Museum’s current exhibition “How Far How Near,” this talk will discuss globalization, the concept of “the art world,” and its role in the Netherlands. The Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and De Balie collaborate to put on this talk which will feature panelists Hilke Wagner (Director Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) and artist Godfried Donkor, and will be moderated by Johan Frederik Hartle (Assistant professor department Philosophy, University of Amsterdam). Where: De Balie, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR Amsterdam When: Nov. 27, 3:30–5pm
“Art, Capital & Avantgarde” Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam at De Balie What: In light of recent auction records this discussion investigates art in relation to monetary and social currency. Panelists include Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Matthew Slotover (Co-founder, Frieze), artist Zachary Formwalt, Olav Velthuis (Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam) and the talk will be moderated by Defne Ayas (Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam). Where: De Balie, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR Amsterdam When: Nov. 29, 10:30am–12pm
“Curating and Dealing Performance” What: Participants from de Appel’s curatorial and gallerist programs will convene to talk about curatorial strategies in commercial and nonprofit contexts. Where: de Appel arts centre, Prins Hendrikkade 142, 1011 AT Amsterdam When: Nov. 30, 4–5:30pm
LunchBytes Amsterdam #4 “Life: Representation, Visibility Online and the Self” What: The fourth in a series of talks surrounding digital technology in art presented by Goethe-Institut and Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, this talk will focus on the selfie—exploring its significance across social media, smartphones, and self-representation. Panelists include Geert Lovink (media theorist and critic, Amsterdam), Amsterdam-based artist Willem Popelier, and Los Angeles-based artist Amalia Ulman. Reserve your spot, here. Where: Foam, Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam When: Nov. 30, 1–3pm
“The Artist Speaks” at Oude Kerk What: This series of performances at Oude Kerk is presented alongside and in response to the institute’s current Tony Oursler exhibition. Participating artists include Hedwig Houben, Frank Koolen, Paulien Oltheten, and Melanie Bonajo. Where: Oude Kerk, Oudekerksplein 23, 1012 GX Amsterdam When: Nov. 29: 1:30pm Hedwig Houben (30 min.); 2:30pm Frank Koolen (15 min.); 4:15pm Paulien Oltheten (30 min.); 5pm Melanie Bonajo (20 min.) Nov. 30: 2:30pm Frank Koolen (15 min.); 4:15pm Paulien Oltheten (30 min.); 5pm Melanie Bonajo (20 min.)
Performance: “The Great Art Show” at the Stadsschouwburg AmsterdamWhat: This theatrical performance explores the significance behind works of art from the Rabo Art Collection. The show promises to present an alternate view of the works of Marlene Dumas. Learn more and buy tickets, here. Where: Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Leidseplein 26, 1017 PT Amsterdam When: Nov. 30, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, 8pm.
“Kunstbeeld Night: Young Experimental Painting” What: This event begins with a lecture by Kunstbeeld editor Arjan Reinders, about contemporary painters experimenting with the shaped canvas, then invites participants on a tour of several galleries and concludes at Bluespoon Restaurant for dinner and a tour of the video art collection at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. See the full program and make your reservation, here. Where: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel, Prinsengracht 587, 1016 HT Amsterdam When: Nov. 28, 5pm
RijksakademieOPEN 2014What: For the only time of the year, all 49 artists in residency at the Rijksakademie will open their studios to the public. Artists will give presentations, screen films, put on performances, and guided tours will be available for visitors. Where: Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Sarphatistraat 470, 1018 GW Amsterdam When: Nov. 29 & 30, 11am–7pm.