Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column, in which she hands art-world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a peek inside theirs Corner of the crazy industry.
I’ve never been to Amsterdam myself, but when I do, one of the first places I go is the Diez Gallery, an art space in the heart of the city with a lively international offering. Its founder, Diego Diez, combined his experience in art consulting and non-profit organizations to create the unique gallery, which is currently hosting a group exhibition featuring work by Mary Heilmann, Sam Lasko, Sands Murray-Wassink and W. Rossen, among others. I gave Diez a camera (well not really, I told him to buy one from his place gemakwinkel) during Amsterdam Art Week. Take it away, Diego…
Amsterdam Art Week is the week where Amsterdam really feels international. Curators come to town and galleries and project spaces try to program their best shows. It has now been moved from November to May, which helps if you want to come to events dry.
The week began in Dutch style with a symposium. My friend Maru Asmellash spoke about his arts center in one of the most underdeveloped neighborhoods in the city. I love hanging out with Maru who is also one of the owners of The New Originals [clothing brand] and always has time to help you with whatever he can. A really kind soul.
Another speaker was Kévin Bray, one of the most exciting artists from Amsterdam. Despite his constant efforts to break away from the digital artist cliché, they asked him about NFTs… Don’t miss Kévin’s upcoming show at The Hole!
On Wednesday I snuck into the press preview of the Rijksakademie. This is one of my favorite tricks when you just want to focus on work and not chatting. I was very happy that I could spend some time with these great paintings by Anh Trần.
Another favorite was Selma Selman, who showed some work that will later be shown at documenta 15. Probably the best residency program in the world, the Rijksakademie offers two years of studio space, accommodation, a bursary and fantastic studio visits that make the artists working here among the most promising of their generation.
In the evening I went to the opening of Mother, one of the many artist-run spaces in the city, the real soul of Amsterdam and where you usually find the most exciting and daring proposals. There I met two of my favorite artists (and friends) in town: Clémence Lollia Hilaire, current resident of De Ateliers, and Ivan Cheng, who runs a space called bologna.cc alongside his artistic practice.
On Thursdays I usually sit in my newly opened gallery. I’m a bit out of the center but worth being in one of the few brutalist buildings in the Netherlands.
Sjoerd Kloosterhuis, director of Rozenstrat, came all the way to see the paintings by W. Rossen (I’m only 15 minutes from the center, but that’s a long way for Amsterdammers). These must be experienced in person! In the back a Mary Heilmann.
Before opening my gallery, I organized exhibitions in my living room for five years. I love those moments when natural light floods the gallery.
Another gallery with beautiful light is Grimm. I don’t always like what they show, but they definitely have one of my favorite rooms in Amsterdam.
Before going out to dinner with a client, I quickly watched the opening of Olga Balema and Win McCarthy at Fons Welters. In the photo is Nick Terra, who has been the director of the gallery for a number of years and has brought a refreshing program to Amsterdam! Thanks for your effort Nick!
For dinner I usually go to Domenica, a fantastic Italian place on the Noordermarkt where I always have space. I usually like to sit down at the bar to see what Flavio and Stefano are up to.
Flavio used to work at Toscanini, Amsterdam’s classic Italian restaurant, where the city’s top collectors make their weekly reservations. A few years ago he decided to start his own thing and a lot of them moved their reservations. It’s not to be missed when you’re in town. Say my name and Flavio will treat you well.
On Thursday evening, Amsterdam Art Week organized celebratory drinks at Hotel De L’Europe, a luxurious hotel built on the remains of a late medieval fortress. There I met mega collector Julia Stoschek who was in town to show some videos from her collection. Here she is with her Berlin curator Lisa Long.
When they saw the flash some of the locals wanted to be in Wet Paint too! From left to right: Julia Stoschek, Willem Sijthoff, Nina Folkersma and Janneke Dreesmann.
On Friday I did a tour of some private collections in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the owners of this fantastic collection, which had mixed some of the hottest names with established blue-chip artists, declined to publish photos of them pied a terre. Instead I photographed one of their beautiful courtyard gardens designed by Piet Oudolf.
It’s always good to visit the Rijksakademie twice in case you missed something. One who knows this well is the very present connoisseur Alain Servais, who was in town briefly and almost exclusively for this. I found him in Polina Medvedeva’s hidden installation. Alain knows it and he knows it well.
Saturdays are usually a quiet day in the gallery, so I just walked around and thought about what work might deserve an individual photo for this column. I didn’t have to think much as I’m in love with this example by Rasoul Ashtary. So excited that Rasoul will be the first solo in the gallery in September!
It’s always so complicated deciding what to do with the last picture of the reel, so I decided to take a rare photo of myself wearing my own merch after a long week. Credit to my neighbor. Artist Bronwen Jones.
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