Category Archives: Art

ALEXANDER CALDER HANGS OUT IN AMSTERDAM

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus.

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus. And it’s free.

No time to queue for Rembrandt and Vermeer? Find the EUR15 entrance fee for the Rijksmuseum a bit steep? Hate crowds?

There is an alternative for cheapskate, agoraphobic art lovers. The gardens of the Rijksmuseum are a little treasure, and this year they’re graced by an exhibition of 14 large-scale works by an international superstar. Entry is free and there’s plenty of elbow room. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Art, Holland

THREE ARTY REASONS TO LOVE AMSTERDAM

One of Peter Erftemeijer's   "Three figures in the the street".

One of Peter Erftemeijer’s “Three figures in the street”.

A gentleman plucks at my sleeve as we’re leaving the excellent NeighbourFood market by the Westergasfabriek. ‘Excuse me, sir, I’m a poet.’

My companions move on quickly, but he has me trapped. He’s polite, well-dressed and well-spoken. Seems ok.

‘I’ve written a poem about that statue over there, and I’d like to recite it to you.’

I know the statue, pictured above. The poet continues, reciting his short poem to an audience of one. He’s not a beggar, he’s a real poet, one of forty taking part in Juni Gedicht (June Poetry), an event sponsored by the local council. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Art, Holland

ART, NATURE AND NUCLEAR MISSILES

The Ratekenstation (Rocket Station) Hombroich - a missile base no more.

The Ratekenstation (Rocket Station) Hombroich – a missile base no more.

Mr Karl-Heinrich Muller is now my favourite German real estate agent. Who else buys a NATO missile base and turns it into an art museum? Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Art, Germany

A HEAP OF HOCKNEY – Salt’s Mill, Yorkshire

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Build a smart new museum and someone will complain that it lacks soul. Convert an old industrial site to a cultural facility and it immediately becomes a cool place.

Salt’s Mill was the thriving hub of Bradford’s booming textile industry in the 19th century. Now it’s an art centre, boasting the world’s largest permanent collection of work by Bradford-born and Yorkshire-resident David Hockney.

Thanks to what is turning out to be an inspired home exchange, Mevrouw T and I are spending the Easter break in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Art, England

THE GUGGENHEIM IN HOLLAND – Cobra Museum

Karel Appel's playful sculpture outside the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen.

Karel Appel’s playful sculpture outside the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen.



I feel well disposed towards artists who admit they really don’t understand what they’re doing.

“I just mess around a bit,” said Dutch artist Karel Appel; and it became the most famous thing he ever said in his life.

Appel’s work and that of his 1950s contemporaries from COpenhagen, BRussels and Amsterdam is celebrated in the COBRA Museum in Amstelveen, just outside Amsterdam. The museum’s permanent collection is one of the Netherlands’ greatest treasures.

This year, Appel and his fellow Cobras have been joined in Amstelveen by work from New York’s Guggenheim. Pollack, Rothko, de Koning, Poliakoff and others splashed, dribbled and daubed colour onto canvas, apparently at random, yet by some magical process the effect is wonderful. We thought the exhibition was fabulous, and highly recommend it to anyone who’ll be in Amsterdam over the next few months. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Art, Holland

ENTER VIA THE GIFT SHOP – St Paul de Vence

The Grand Fountain.

The Grand Fountain.

It’s always nice when Fairfax media publishes my work in the ‘Traveller’ section of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age. It means I can then release the full story on this blog…

The artists came to Saint-Paul-de-Vence because it was beautiful, quiet and cheap. The dealers moved in to hang out with the artists and buy their work. Their galleries attracted the tourists and smart restaurants replaced the artists’ smoky cafes and bars. The artists passed away or drifted away to find somewhere quieter and cheaper. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Art, France

SAVING INDIA’S MONA LISA

Hey, have a look at this...

The beautiful Padmapani, holder of the lotus and protector of the Buddha, herself preserved by being hidden in a cave for 1500 years. India’s Mona Lisa?



John Smith of the 28th cavalry was out looking for tigers in 1819, when he found a cave, full of bats and rubble and used by local people for religious ceremonies.

He’d stumbled upon one of the world’s ancient wonders, man-made Buddhist caves dating back to at least the fifth century AD, and probably seven hundred years before that. John was so excited he scratched his name on the wall, as explorers were wont to do.

Since word got out about the discovery, millions of people have followed him into the Ajanta Caves, and although we take off our shoes or pull soft covers over them, we’re all doing our little bit to damage them.
Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Art, India