Sarah van Sonsbeeck
Visual artist, Rijksakademie alumnus (2008-2009)
My favourite place in the Jordaan is the Annet Gelink Gallery. They’ve represented my work for over ten years. I’ll never forget how my first big art piece – a cubic metre of silence – wouldn’t fit through the door. Annet ended up showing it in the space next door.
A great non-profit art space in the Jordaan is ROZENSTRAAT–a rose is a rose. They aren’t afraid to tackle complex themes and their exhibition concepts are truly original, like a walking tour last year with artist Robin Waart of billboards with texts about love, in collaboration with another fantastic art space: Rongwrong.
One underexposed Amsterdam artist you should know about is Willem Arondéus (1894-1943). He was openly gay, jailed in what today is De Balie, and sentenced to death for his work with the resistance. He requested a Dutch meringue pie as his last meal and shared it with his friends. I worked with De Balie and Patisserie Holtkamp on a triangular pink meringue pie as a temporary tribute to him. It’s available at De Balie throughout May
Patron of art (@sophie.kugel)
Along with a host of museums with changing exhibitions, Amsterdam also has a wide range of art galleries that rotate exhibitions every few weeks. That means there’s always a constant stream of innovation.
There isn’t one single Amsterdam gallery that I think is the most interesting. The charm is in the interplay between all these different galleries, nestled together in the city centre. It’s so easy to meander from one gallery to the next. You’ll always find an exhibition or an artist you like. As a visitor, it allows you to explore ‘undiscovered’ national and international artistic gems. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
During Amsterdam Art Week, I’m really looking forward to Britte Koolen’s solo exhibition in the gardens at Galerie Bart. This young artist was inspired by the words of John Maeda: “When there is less, we appreciate everything much more”. Her minimalist sculptures explore our universal desire to create order in chaos and balance on the line between sculpture and architecture.
Your friendly neighbourhood visual artist
I have a deep relationship with art in the city. It’s my home base, it’s what feeds my inspiration. For me, Amsterdam is still a massive undiscovered frontier, full of hidden gems. My favourite place in Amsterdam North is my studio at A-LAB, a community of creative, innovative, and socially relevant members that love to collaborate and experiment, located in the former Shell laboratory across from Central Station.
What’s an absolutely must-see on a visit to Amsterdam Noord? The Tolhuistuin mural wall. In the past it’s featured gorgeous work by Hedy Tjin, United Painters, Dewy Elsinga, Lyanne Tonk, Zaire Krieger and myself, in collaboration with LFMC. One artist that people may not know, but really should, is Farida Sedoc. She is the best of us.
I’m particularly looking forward to the exhibition Facing Blackness at The Black Archives during Amsterdam Art Week. It’s a must see. Besides that, everything at CBK Zuidoost is always amazing.
Art historian and art consultant
When I moved to the Zuidas about five years ago, it was a sterile commercial space, but in the last few years, it’s started to grow the soul of a neighbourhood. Home, work, and life all merge together here now, and that’s gone hand in hand with a greater focus on art. Today, you can feel the city’s international spirit along with the dynamics of the art world here.
When I need a break from all the hustle and bustle, I drop by one of the many parks in Amsterdam Zuid. But the AkzoNobel Art Foundation and ABN Amro Art Collection also have a certain tranquillity that I like to immerse myself in to see the new exhibitions. They feature beautiful pieces by internationally renowned artists. After a visit to the AkzoNobel Art Foundation, you can take a stroll through the flower garden behind the building and wander into Beatrix Park, which is home to a stunning statue by artist duo Heringa/Van Kalsbeek. Then grab a bite to eat or a drink at strandzuid and enjoy the waterfront views.
During Amsterdam Art Week, I’m looking forward to what new-comer Hama Gallery has planned. They’ve recently opened an artist residency in the garden, which is yet another example of the playful blend of culture and nature that’s so unique to South.
Afaina de Jong
Architect, founder AFARAI
I literally grew up in the Amsterdam art world. My parents were both active in the art scene, my brother and cousin are artists, and in my youth I often visited the Stedelijk Museum. The Amsterdam art scene consists of all kinds of micro-scenes, which sometimes seem to operate independently of each other, but which also create a lot of dynamics, with all these different people from all over the country and the world coming together here.
I love Amsterdam West, especially the Kinkerbuurt, with the Bellamyplein and the Ten Katemarkt and of course the Westerpark. My favourite work of art is the aquarium on the roof of the pink residential building on the Nassauplein. This artwork by Noel Harding is also illuminated at night.
During Amsterdam Art Week, I definitely want to visit the Thami Mnyele Foundation, a residency place for artists from the African continent and the diaspora. I also always check out Gerhard Hofland’s gallery. It’s located in the Tetterode building, one of the few authentic artists’ premises left in Amsterdam city centre.