Thursday, February 09, 2017

Jean Tinguely in the Stedelijk Museum

Did I mention that I had an appointment to renew my passport on January 23rd?

It so happens that the American Embassy in the Netherlands is on one corner of the Museumplein in Amsterdam, so when Astrid and I knew we'd be there, we planned a day of it, making sure we'd capitalize also on our museum card.

My appointment at the embassy (top and bottom-left) was at 10:45 a.m. on one of our colder days.
We passed it at both the beginning and end of the day, since we parked nearby.
See the Rijksmueum (bottom-right)?

If you know the Museumplein (museum square), you know about these museums:
the Van Gogh and the Rijksmueum are the best known.
And directly across from the Rijksmuseum is the Concert Gebouw (hall), left-center.

Then, just to the left of the Van Gogh Museum is the Stedelijk Museum, on the same square.
It was less than a 5-minute walk from the embassy.  A no-brainer and a first for me

Because it was lunch time when we got there after my appointment, but not where we planned to eat,
we had a rare sugar fix in the museum's café to tide us over till our afternoon lunch.
This was the Monday after Saturday's Women's Marches held around the world.
Approx. 3,000 women and friends marched in Amsterdam.

When we were ready to start our tour of the Jean Tinguely exhibition inside the museum,
Astrid first ran down the hall to see if the big staircase was still there.
She remembered it from her last visit 20 years ago.
YES.  It was still there.

Other exhibits were in the museum but the only one interesting us that day was Jean Tinguely's.
This was his Machine Spectacle from 1 October 2016 to 5 March 2017,
25 years after his death.

Before we did anything, we participated in the one interactive exhibit at the entrance.
As you can see in the video below, the movement of this sculpture is maintained by the visitors.

THIS is Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), a Swiss painter and sculptor.
He's "famous for his playful, boldly kinetic machines and explosive performances.
Everything had to be different, everything had to move."

"Tinguely's art satirized the mindless overproduction of material goods
in advanced industrial society." --Wiki

There were 166 works in the exhibition, 66 of which were machine sculptures.
Some exhibits were just...exhibits.

Only 42 of the 66 machine sculptures were functioning,
but you could at least see the others and imagine what they could do.

The favorite room for both of us was this one, with all the shadows.
Wheels within wheels and shadows of wheels within wheels.

This particular exhibit was H U G E and could be seen at its length, width and depth.

My biggest surprise, however, was seeing Tinguely's collaboration with Niki de Saint Phalle:
HIS WIFE.  Who knew!
She goes all the way back to Hannover, Germany, for me, in 2005, and Atlanta in 2006.

If you know Niki de Saint Phalle's work, you see the collaboration.

The last exhibit of the day was a room filled with rusty farm equipment.
In fact, you can hear the screeching sound of it at the end of the following video.

Here is a video showing only 6 of the machines in movement.
The machines may look sturdy but actually are extremely fragile and cannot run constantly,
lest they break.  Some hadn't been working for years and had to be restored.

Interestingly, Tinguely believed that "Everything in motion will eventually destroy itself."

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Talk about working up an appetite!  Besides'the museum (and passport renewal, of course), our other main goal of the day was to eat at our favorite Wagamama noodle-bar restaurant, just minutes away.

So, from the Stedelijk Museum we walked towards the Rijksmusem,
where we spent a few minutes watching the skaters on the iced-over pond.

Directly in front of the museum is one of Amsterdam's two IAMsterdam photo-op sculptures.
The other one is at Schiphol Airport, where, if you visit us, you'll probably have your photo taken!

But, finally, here we are at Wagamama to end our day.
Comfort food for the soul.  It doesn't get much better than this.

And guess what:  it took only 9 days for me to get my new passport back from the USA.
Now I wonder if "they" will allow my Dutch wife to return with me later in the year???


  1. Thank you Ginnie for this beautiful series which presents many varied and interesting things. I like very much because I don't know Amsterdam.

    1. Thank YOU, dear Marie, for following this journey. I'm glad I can show you new things from Amsterdam, just as you constantly show me new things from your part of the world in France and elsewhere from your travels.

  2. Loved this post of Amsterdam museums. We visited the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh but didn't have time for more. It is such a wonderful city for walking and biking. Love the Netherlands. PERIOD.

    1. Exactly, Marie, and I actually lived there off-n-on for two years--two weeks out of every month. It was quite an experience, but even then I didn't see nearly everything, including all the museums.

  3. The exhibit looks fantastic - my kind of thing. After years of teaching kids about Modern Art, I’ve grown grumpy about much of what the 20th century has come to value, and at the same time have been drawn closer to the Modern Art that I do like. However, my ears perked up at the mention of the Concertgebouw. I’ve never been there, but it has the reputation of having arguably the finest acoustics in the world. Alas, it will now make no difference to my sorry ears.

    1. I actually thought of you, Ted, while at this museum, thinking about how you would have had a heyday with your camera. And yes, you would love the Concert Gebouw, even with bad ears. We heard Mozart's Requiem there a few years back and will never forget it:

  4. here's me trying for the 3rd time to get a comment thru lol

    i just said how much i loved the machine sculptures, and the one Astrid was pushing reminded me of 'Edward Scissorhands' and Vincent Price's cooke factory lol

    i also mentioned that i was glad you got to have a snowball fight, and did you get to skate??

    1. Thank you for your persistence, Elaine, with this comment. I had to laugh about Edward Scissorhands. HA! We didn't skate, no, but Astrid did make a couple of snowballs while I snapped the pics. I did NOT touch the snow, coward that I am with cold hands). But I loved it.

  5. All so fun, Boots. I thought of Wagamama and our time together on the plane to DC because I looked at all our photos from the trip on my iPad.

    Last evening I met a lady at supper in Chinatown who is married to a woman, and we had a long discussion about things, including whether she thought the same-sex marriage ruling would be overturned. We both think not!

    1. I will always think of you and Don with us at the Wagamama whenever we're there, Ruth. I have such good memories of that place!

      Thank you for sharing the conversation with the woman from last night. I tend to agree with you on the ruling but hate the fact there's a big question mark still looming out there on the horizon with this new "regime." (sigh)

  6. It was already over 40 years... I was 20... and yes I was glad that the staircase still was there. What a wonderful day out. We should this more often. HA... Eating at the Wagamama is a real treat. What a place. I loved the exhibition, all those moving things, all the 'brainfarts'... this was fun. Thank you for making another memory on 'In Soul'... IHVJ.

    1. Ahhh. I misunderstood, thinking it was only 20 years ago...not when you were 20. So, no wonder you ran off to look for the stairs! Wagamama will always be a reason for us to o back to Amsterdam. HA! I love it.

  7. What a packed day! I love how you two squeeze it all in! Amazing time on the passport process!

    1. We're not packing in as much as we used to, Robin, when we did something almost every weekend. But what we DO do is more than enough, as far as I'm concerned. :) And, yes, I was very happy by how quickly I got my new passport back! (I had initially thought the info was sent to the USA and it came from there, but I realize it all was done here in the Netherlands, which makes more sense.)