Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We're back!

After 2 months of travel I am back and ready to dip into the paint again. My husband and I have been to Iceland, Netherlands and the UK. We visited over 10 galleries/museums and I'll copy some of the info over from my trip blog in the next few days so you can have a look.
Above is hubby at (or in?) the Dubuffet part of the sculpture garden of the Kroller Muller Museum. The Kroller Muller is in the Hoge Veluwe National Park near Arnhem (Netherlands).


It is an elegant building, low and simple, set amongst manicured lawns, sculpture gardens and woodlands. We first visited in January of 1995. Many parts of Holland had been experiencing severe flooding; when we arrived the grounds around the museum were soggy and the entrance flanked by a row of 5 blue porta potties, neatly connected in a row. How unfortunate we thought, the flooding has caused the museum plumbing to fail. Sure enough, when we were inside the smell of ammonia was powerful. Fortunately it had not permeated the Van Gogh hall, we enjoyed the paintings immensely. Leaving the permanent exhibits behind we headed for the temporary show areas, past a huge mound of burned chairs. More problems! The museum certainly had been having its share of difficulties. Nearby unopened crates, addressed to the museum, were stacked and unopened. Staff shortages? We were now close to the restrooms but no stench was apparent, in fact they were clean and functioning. The smell of ammonia was elsewhere….
This was our first experience with installation art. The ammonia smell wafted from a small house made entirely of salt cod, the burned chairs were another installation. The unopened crates contained art which the artist had submitted but with the stipulation the crates not be unpacked - a statement about the commercialism rampant in art. Now wiser about this “new” type of art, we checked out the porta potties. Yup! Art!!! The connected stalls were empty except the last one. We entered to check out the TV monitor mounted over the only toilet. The program on the screen was a simple one: a buzzing fly. This installation was called Virtual Reality for Poor People. Someone had made a statement about the piece by leaving a rather large deposit in the toilet. That part was real.
Our second visit to the Kroller was llast month. It has expanded and is probably my favourite museum. It is spacious, elegant and one is immediately aware of being in the presence of greatness. There are numerous VanGogh’s, Mondrians, Toorops. The Van Goghs are superb, you rarely have to share the viewing space and you can get up close and personal without the docents or the alarm system throwing a fit. Photos are permitted (no flash). I took lots!

A rather saucy little nude by Van Gogh