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Dutch Art & Design Today

Dutch Art & Design Today

By John Bezold

Art and design, from the Netherlands. 'Dutch Art & Design Today' is a podcast hosted by John Bezold, which explores these two worlds and those working within them. From publishers and artists, to designers and curators, painters and podcasters; this podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of their work, to find out why Dutch art and design is so highly regarded across cultures, and time. You can find more of John's work over on his website.
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Steven Nadler

Dutch Art & Design TodaySep 30, 2023

Steven Nadler

Steven Nadler

'Spinoza is a great portal to the Dutch Republic; because with Spinoza you have to look at Jewish Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. And if you start looking at Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, you’re drawn to the art. If you’re drawn to the art you become aware of the social and economic context. It’s really like looking through the looking glass. Once you’re in, you’re in.’

—Steven Nadler

For the sixteenth episode of Dutch Art & Design Today, I sat down with Steven Nadler, who is a philosopher, a historian of philosophy, an all-around interesting academic, as well as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he is also the Director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities. Steven completed his BA at Washington University in St. Louis, and then returned to his hometown of Manhattan to complete his MA and PhD at Columbia University, where he wrote his dissertation on the French philosopher Antoine Arnauld. Steven has studied and written extensively on the history of philosophy in Early Modern Europe, particularly concerning Descartes and Spinoza. Over the years, a through line in his teaching and writing has been the seventeenth century as it relates to the Dutch Republic; for instance, concerning the stay of Descartes in the republic, and his interactions with politicians, thinkers, and artists, such as the painter Frans Hals. Steven also has an interest in the Jewish population of Amsterdam during the same time period, and in 2003, published a book titled Rembrandt's Jews, for which he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

In this hour-long discussion, Steven and I first revisit his move to the Midwest for his undergraduate degree, and then his return to New York City for his graduate and doctoral degrees, and what his student days were like in both locations. We then move on to talk about how his dissertation lead him to study Descartes, and the seventeenth century in general, and why he finds the era so fascinating from a philosophical point of view, and what was happening in Amsterdam and Haarlem, during this period of time. Steven then explains the methodologies that he uses to approach his work, and how they allow him to combine several figures and topics that interest him, in a way that makes his work accessible beyond those only interested in philosophy. We then zoom in on his books on Frans Hals, and how he used a well-known trove of archival documents, to wrap the biography of Hals around some of his more celebrated paintings, to write the first biographical study of Hals in Haarlem. To conclude, Steven explains how philosophy is useful to the world today, and how knowing it results in better choices, better ways of thinking which together leads to, as he puts it, "better living through philosophy".'

You can learn more about Steven and his work and books, over on his ⁠website⁠.

You can also find out more about Steven's teaching on his university's website.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠⁠⁠@johnbezold⁠⁠⁠ and at his website ⁠⁠⁠

Sep 30, 202301:13:13
Sven Kroner

Sven Kroner

'Back in 2006, or 2007, I painted a kind of a landscape, in a very liquid way; sometimes abstract and sometimes realistic. But I would always add details, like a cow in the foreground watching its shed or hut, standing in a puddle of water. And the cow, in that work, is standing on the hill. But can't go back to the hut... And what I like about that painting, is that there are different levels to it. A daily life scene; a cow watching the effects of global warming. But on another level, maybe I'm the cow, doubting the painted landscape I made. So, there's an irony in my work... It's a mix of abstraction and figuration, and philosophy.'

–Sven Kroner

For the fifteenth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Sven Kroner, a Düsseldorf-based painter whose works on large-scale canvases making use of acrylics, are simultaneously familiar yet otherworldly, while also being utterly entrancing. Sven was born in Kaufbeuren, then in West Germany, in 1973, surrounded by the verdant landscapes of the Northern Alps, aligning the Austrian and Swiss borders. He describes the nature in this part of Germany as being, 'like a fairytale', and where he spent time with his friends during his youth—as they all dreamed of moving away from their small town, to bigger cities. Not necessarily from an artistic lineage of painters, he came to art of his own volition, after museum visits as a child, taking an interest in contemporary German artists, as well as some of his own experiments using aquarelles and oil paint. Sven then studied painting, at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, from 1994-2000; a city he had never visited before his acceptance there; though it is also where he has lived, and worked, ever since.

In this hour-long conversation, Sven and I discuss his childhood spent in southern Germany, and how the landscapes that surrounded him there in the area, influenced how these landscapes returned as a subject, within his work. Sven talks about his time at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf; why he chose to study there; and what he did while there; before zooming in on his mentor at the academy, Dieter Krieg (1937-2005), explaining what he absorbed from him, that he still makes use of, today. Sven is known for paintings that, put simply, create worlds within worlds. He makes use of acrylic paints—a medium he once referred to as nearly being, 'plastic'. It is rare to find an artist of his statue using acrylics instead of oils, and so we also discuss his technique; how he uses the medium to create his work; and how the medium differs from oils. Lastly, we discuss his exhibition titled 'Atmosphere', at Gallery Fons Welters in Amsterdam, from 8 September-14 October 2023, and how his more recent work involves the themes of domesticity, and the Anthropocene.

You can learn more about Sven and his paintings, and books, over on his website.

You can read about Sven's exhibition 'Atmosphere', on Gallery Fons Welter's website.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠⁠@johnbezold⁠⁠ and at his website ⁠⁠

Aug 31, 202301:19:11
Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

'Habsburgs loved their animals. As we do today. They're no different than us. They went to great lengths, to get their horses, dogs, cheetahs, their elephants... and that's always fun. I want to make history fun, inspiring, and alive. It doesn't have to just be wars and politics. These people had lives. They had their loves; and their children. So how can we make that, and their documents, interesting? We need history; as much as we want to be always grounded in the future, flying off into space; I think we need to understand the past, to look at the present. At least that's been my philosophy.'

–Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

For the fourteenth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Annemarie Jordan Gschwend; a specialist in the Habsburg dynasty, the history of their art and art collections, and a pioneer in studying Habsburg women. Annemarie studied at George Washington University in D.C., where she completed her BA in art history and French, and her MA in art history, focusing on Portuguese royal history. She then wrote her dissertation at Brown University, on the collection of Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal. During the 1970s she studied in France, and in the 1980s while a student, received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Lisbon, where she undertook archival research and deepened her interest in the history of the Habsburgs. Annemarie completed her dissertation in Switzerland, where she has been based since rthe 1980s, and has since gone on to curate and contribute to numerous exhibits and their catalogues. Thanks to her wide-reaching interests; her fluency in many languages; and her passion for being neutral and objective within her work; her research is as thorough as it is joyful, and her vast depth of knowledge in this field is truly astonishing.

In this detailed talk, Annemarie retraces her childhood and how her parents emigrated to the USA from Europe—and revisits her memories of being a child going up in San Francisco. Her parents spoke numerous languages at home, exposing her to the world beyond English, and her mom encouraged her interests in European history, languages, and the arts. Annemarie then explains why she chose to study art history, and how she became fixated on it, as a study path; a drive that became ignited by an inspirational professor. She then discusses some of her experiences living in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s; what conducting research was like during this time; and then reflects on the differences between conducting research then, compared to today. Annemarie introduces the Habsburgs in detail, and paints a picture of their history, from its thirteenth-century origin to its demise in the early-twentieth century. The Habsburgs have left behind countless letters, artworks, buildings, inventories, etc., and Annemarie explains how she uses these many areas of research to create a material-cultural-social-art history. To conclude, she ponders why she so enjoys researching the Habsburg women, and then notes the importance of publishing engaging new research, to further inspire future historians.

Learn more about the exhibitions 'Women—The Art of Power' and 'Renaissance Lisbon', co-curated by Annemarie, and discussed in the episode.

Watch an hour-long film made for Portuguese television (with English subtitles) about the Lisbon exhibition featuring Annemarie.

You can learn more about Annemarie and her work on her website.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠@johnbezold⁠ and at his website ⁠

Jul 31, 202301:44:16
Jane Turner

Jane Turner

'What's left to do? To keep people interested in old art. To make that art interesting and relevant. Perhaps relevant isn’t the right word… But if you look at the art market; the biggest money, right now, is in modern and contemporary art. You see it in auction houses, too. The content of the sales is different than it was 20 years ago. Old Masters remain a challenge. But then, you'll get a Vermeer exhibition, like at the Rijksmuseum—where the tickets sell out on the second day. And so I’m optimistic about the future, when it comes to the Old Masters.'

—Jane Turner

For the thirteenth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Jane Turner; an editor, scholar, specialist in Dutch and Flemish Old Master drawings and prints, the former Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and has been the Editor in Chief of journal Master Drawings—covering Old Master drawings—since 2004. Jane studied art history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and quickly found her way to working at the college's art museum. She studied in Paris for a year while at Smith, refining her eye and interests in Old Master art; and after graduation, decided to move to Manhattan, where she worked at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Morgan Library, where she began specializing in Netherlandish drawings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During her museum days in New York, she became known for compiling catalouges of collections, imbuing her with editorial expertise, particularly concerning hefty tomes. In the late-1980s Jane moved to London, where she worked for over a decade on the 36-volume Dictionary of Art; a powerhouse of a print publication, the likes of which will never be produced again, and which itself, was progressive in its approach to global art. In 2011 Jane was appointed Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum, retiring from it in 2020. Through her work, Jane's become a globally renowned museum scholar and connoisseur of Netherlandish drawings.

In this meanderingly playful talk, Jane and I discuss the course of her career and trace its origins from her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio—where I was, coincidentally, also born; to her youth spent in Cleveland, and what life was like in terms of her early-exposure to museums and modern art; and then move on to discuss some of the ideas and subjects she was interested in as a student. Jane recounts how she ended up moving to Manhattan in the 1970s, and some of the things she learned from mentors and professors during her time in the city, and what exactly she was up to at the Cooper Hewitt and the Morgan Library and Museum, during her time at those institutions. Jane spends a large portion of our conversation underlying the importance of mentorship within her work and discusses some of the programs and initiatives she has put in place, which advocate for the advancement of young scholars of drawings and prints. While at the Rijksmuseum, Jane was responsible for leading numerous digital catalogue projects that made the print room's drawings digitally accessible, with full descriptions, technical research and provenance information. She also was responsible for innovative exhibitions put on by the print room, including one titled 'XXL', which featured eccentric, huge works on paper, and another titled 'Frans Post. Animals in Brazil', which saw plush insects 'overtake' the museum. Lastly, Jane ponders what the future holds for Old Master drawings and museums—and indeed, is hopeful for both. 

You can learn more about the Rijksmuseum's Print Room over on their website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Jun 30, 202301:32:54
Francien Krieg

Francien Krieg

'I understand the anger from a lot of people around AI. I had the same. The first time I saw AI, it made me very angry—at the whole development. I thought: what is this? But I also thought: how can I have such a strong opinion about AI, if I don't know what it, is? So I decided to dig into it and explore it. That's the only way to know what you're talking about... Before my work in AI, I was always making my own photos of models and I always stuck very close to the reference. But with AI, I feel like I'm sketching. I can explore more things in a much shorter time; at a much faster pace, than having to depend on photos from models... AI challenges me. And I'm thankful for all the inspiration it's giving me.'

—Francien Krieg

For the twelfth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Francien Krieg, a Dutch painter whose work in portraiture explores the process of aging in relation to the human body. Francien studied monumental design at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and then painting at the Vrije Academy, also in The Hague, graduating in 2003. During her studies, she was intensely preoccupied with the theme of the passing of time and devoted much of her work as a student to exploring the subject. Time has become a central theme of Francien's work, and she is today best known for her large-scale oil paintings, whose main subjects are often older women. The perspectival approach that Francien uses to frame her subjects often results in an exaggeration of scale; such as by zooming-in on a subject's face, so that it alone occupies the canvas; or by having the viewer look 'up', or 'down', toward the painted subject's body. Working out of her home studio—where this episode was recorded—Francien carefully poses and composes her sitters, after inviting them into her studio, photographing them many times, before then creating a composition for a painting. However, in addition to her portraiture in oil paints, Francien also creates works with AI.

In this hour-and-half-long talk that begins with Francien's memories of her father—we discuss how she came to be exploring the subject of time in her work, which directly relates to her father's fascination with death. We then move on to discuss how her student years were instrumental in finding the method and approach to her process. For an artist preoccupied with the passing of time, and portraying the aging process in her work; the pandemic had an outsized effect on her process, and Francien relays how she made use of prolonged periods of isolation in 2020 and 2021, in relation to her painting practice. The last part of our talk is focused on Francien's work using AI—Stable Diffusion and Midjourney—and she explains how the process of working in AI, has inversely affected her work in oils. When it comes to distributing her AI work, Francien makes use of the Tezos blockchain, where her work has been enthusiastically embraced by art collectors. To conclude, Francien explains her choice of portraying subjects in the nude, and how her work refashions outdated ideals around, 'growing old.'

You can find Francien and her work on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠@johnbezold⁠ and at his website ⁠⁠.

May 31, 202301:37:03
Giancarlo Pazzanese

Giancarlo Pazzanese

'In digital fashion, craftsmanship has moved from knowing how to work with leather, or how to embroider physically. But I think the craftsmanship that’s done in digital fashion is the same if not more than the time spent crafting physical fashion. So, the craftsmanship of the traditional fashion industry is still present in the digital fashion industry; it’s just that digital fashion designers are using different tools, in their work. And it’s funny how in the real world we try to delete imperfections and become more perfect. But digital fashion is about making things less perfect; more imperfect.'

—Giancarlo Pazzanese

For the eleventh episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Giancarlo Pazzanese—a Chilean-Italian educator, designer, and digital fashion expert. Giancarlo's work is rooted in a deep respect for history, and he is an advocate for inclusivity and diversity in 3D, digital, metaverse, and web3 design. He previously taught fashion history and digital fashion, at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy—where he was in charge of establishing the pedagogical curriculum and programming around these topics. More recently, he began teaching at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. Most prominently, his work explores design and fashion, in relation to augmented reality and 3D design, on both the production and supply chain sides; as well as garment design.

In this fascinating talk that begins with Giancarlo’s childhood; we discuss how growing up in Chile during the 1970s had an effect on his views on the material world of ‘things’—from art to buildings. We then discuss how he experiences history, especially the built environment of Amsterdam and Europe. Our conversation continues to AI; what it can, and what it cannot, do; how the knowledge a user brings to it, has an outsized influence on its output; and how he uses it in his work in fashion. To conclude, Giancarlo talks about his time at the Fashion Academy, and breaks down the nuances of his work there; some of the programs and modes of thought that he embedded in the institution; and what it is that makes teaching fashion history and digital fashion, so exciting to students, today.

You can find Giancarlo on Instagram, over on Twitter, and at his website.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠@johnbezold and at his website ⁠⁠.

May 01, 202301:35:26
Maaike Rikhof

Maaike Rikhof

'What I'm predominately interested in, is telling stories of people that might have been overlooked. But you have to be very careful. Because not everyone has the same starting point or opinion on topics that you might want to discuss—for example, if it's about gender, a queer perspective, or a decolonial perspective. I want to present a story that feels respectful to everyone who visits a museum, but that still can be challenging for people with different views. But without scaring them away completely... Museums, in an increasingly individualized society, can offer people the opportunity and chance to come into contact with viewpoints and histories, and stories outside of their own. In this sense, the end goal, for me: it's decreasing polarization and increasing mutual understanding.'

—Maaike Rikhof

For the tenth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Maaike Rikhof, who is the Curator of Modern Art at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Maaike studied art history at the University of Amsterdam, where she focused her research on the sociological aspects of art and received her BA and MA degrees. She also spent a year studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, which was instrumental in her focusing her work on the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, in relation to the ideas and social movements behind the artworks that were produced during those eras. Before starting in her current role at the Frans Hals Museum, Maaike spent time at the Van Gogh Museum as a researcher, and was also a curator in training at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and more recently, guest curated the exhibition ‘The New Woman’ at the Singer Laren Museum—which was on display at the museum from 13 September 2022-8 January 2023. As Maaike makes clear during the interview, she focuses her research on the ideas behind the art from c. 1880-1920—as opposed to their literal, formal aspects—in her quest to probe the depths, of the socio-political contexts that fueled the creation of art in those eras.

In this hour-and-a-half-long talk, Maaike recounts how she found her way to art history and discusses at length, how it is that she approaches her work in museums through the lens of sociology. We first discuss her childhood, and how her father—who was a medieval archivist at the Rijksmuseum—influenced her own interest in museums. She then recounts her early fascination with Netherlandish altarpieces, and a particularly memorable visible to the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy, where she encountered Rogier van der Weyden’s ‘The Last Judgment’; and then muses on her encounter with Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence; and how these experiences cemented her love of the history of the social contexts that accompany the genesis of works of art. Later, Maaike talks about her use of the digital humanities in relation to her curatorial work, and the advantages of being a digital native, in terms of the ways she makes use of databases for research, and how she disseminates her research using, for instance, digital publishing. We then discuss what it is that enthralls her, concerning museums and their ability to participate in societal discussions. And to conclude, Maaike hints at what she has planned for the Frans Hals Museum, and its collection of modern art.

You can learn more about Maaike and follow her and her work, on Instagram.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠@johnbezold and at his website ⁠

Apr 14, 202301:29:14
Felix Pensel

Felix Pensel

'In the early-seventeenth century, group portraiture was about social relationships that were the topic of such paintings. And in the late-nineteenth century, visual language in painting was a little more open; a little more abstract. So for me, the canvas is like a stage of happenings that play out on a global level. And that's the reason that my large-scale canvases tend to look like theatrical compositions. They are, basically, meant to portray different digital spaces. I want to paint the metaverse... Some people have more power, some people have less... It's these different levels of social power, which I express in my large-scale work.'

—Felix Pensel

For the ninth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Felix Pensel—a Nuremberg-based artist whose work spans many mediums, most notably large-scale canvas paintings, and more recently, digital art. Felix has devoted his life to art; he eats, sleeps, and breathes art; and he is nearly entirely self-taught. He was first inspired to become an artist at his grandfather's urging, which led him to start drawing, then visiting art museums more and more during his youth—ultimately finding his way to the monumental canvases of artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Peter Paul Rubens. The compositions of such Old Master paintings have inspired his own work, especially his digital paintings, which are complexly layered three-dimensional planes inhabited by countless figures, sometimes in unsettling or even surreal poses and situations. In this way, his work recalls the haunting worlds of the Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. Felix’s digital artwork is minted on Tezos and Ethereum, whereas his physical works have been widely exhibited throughout Europe.

In this incredibly relaxed interview, we meander our way from Felix’s childhood, growing up in Nuremberg, and his many visits to museums to visit the Old Masters, specifically the work of Rubens. We then discuss his relationship to drawing as a child, being inspired by the prints and drawings of Albrecht Dürer—a fellow Nuremberg native; his later dabbles in graffiti; and how his experiences in graffiti lead him to turn his attention to creating large-scale paintings. We then discuss how he is influenced by the built environment around him, in Germany, and oppositely, what it is that makes the contemporary art world so fascinating, when it collides with web3. The second half of our talk is centered on the Tezos community; how Felix makes use of and his views on working with AI; and the enthusiasm of artists and collectors in the Tezos space. Lastly, Felix talks about his newest works minted on ⁠⁠SuperRare⁠⁠, the ideas behind them, and how they relate to compositions of late-nineteenth-century French group portraiture painting.

Works by Felix discussed: '⁠⁠Cosmos of Cream⁠⁠', '⁠⁠Blue Haze', and 'Diamonds and Pizza'.

You can find Felix on Twitter ⁠⁠@felixpensel⁠⁠ and at his website ⁠⁠⁠⁠.

You can find John on Twitter ⁠⁠@johnbezold⁠⁠ and at his website ⁠⁠⁠⁠.

Mar 31, 202301:42:21
Sara Birkofer

Sara Birkofer

'I'm really interested in contemporary art because it can be anything. And I know that that's very off-putting for some people. When it comes to artistic movements; you have a lot of different styles that are very particular and very stylized and very identifiable. When it comes to contemporary art, you don't really have that as much, because the whole basis of contemporary art is that it's what's happening now. It's living artists in essence; that's what the word contemporary truly means...'

—Sara Birkofer

For the eighth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Sara Birkofer, who is the Assistant Director of Gallery and Accessibility Programming at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Sara studied art history at the University of Cincinnati and French language and culture at La Sorbonne, in Paris. For the past decade, she has been affiliated with the Cincinnati Art Museum, where she has been instrumental in furthering its mission of public inclusivity via the many educational programs that the museum carries out. The museum, which was founded in 1881, is also the oldest fine art museum in the Midwestern United States—and as she explains, she makes good use of the collection, in its entirety, within her work. Sara's interests in contemporary art; French and more generally, European history and culture; combined with her affinity for being a connector of people using art, has lead her to develop numerous in-gallery educational programs at the Cincinnati Art Museum, for visitors of—quite literally—all backgrounds and ages.

In this episode, which was recorded at the museum, we discuss her education in the USA and Europe, including how her studies in Paris and London led to her immersing herself in countless galleries and museums throughout Europe. She then defines contemporary art and explains its importance to the culture at large, its role in museums, and how—unlike the art of the past—its meanings and purposes can be more abstractly approached, from the perspective of the viewer. When then dive into her immersive-focused educational work at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and how she uses the museum's collection as a catalyst to advance the museum's mission—beyond its own walls—to foster community within the city. Sara has developed, among others, a baby art tour, a program for children with autism, as well as intimate, sensory-focused tours, for groups whose participants are blind. In addition to being an award-winning museum educator for her prior work, she's also developing new programs at the museum—which she lays out and expounds on, near the end of our talk

You can find out more about the Cincinnati Art Museum on its website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Feb 28, 202301:01:52
Mayken Jonkman

Mayken Jonkman

‘For the nineteenth century, Dutch artists had to try to emulate artists from the seventeenth century. It was the standard that they had to try and find. And if they exhibited in Paris, that’s also what the critic said: "this is like a Ruisdael; that’s like a Rembrandt; he’s doing a very good imitation of that artist." And that’s something they had to fight against, or overcome. And that only happened, with the advent of The Hague school, and its artists. There's also a French-Dutch part of the French School of Barbizon, whose own artists actually looked back to the Dutch seventeenth century. But it's that moment, in which the Dutch nineteenth-century artists come into their own. And they in-turn, become an export product, and become internationally known. Especially in America and Great Britain, these artists were very much sought after.’

—Mayken Jonkman

For the seventh episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Mayken Jonkman, who is a Senior Curator of Nineteenth-Century Art, at The Netherlands Institute for Art History, in The Hague. Mayken is an art historian and researcher who takes an approach to her work that is kaleidoscopic in its nature. Since 2007, she has been a curator at the RKD, focused entirely on the nineteenth century, and specifically, interactions and artistic exchanges between France and the Netherlands. She has also been a lecturer in art history at numerous universities in the Netherlands; sits on the board of the European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art; and has authored a seemingly endless list of publications on artists, the use of photography by artists, and much more besides.

In this episode, we trace these events in her life, all through the prism of the fabulously multi-faceted nineteenth century; with its many interlocking innovations, as related to society at large, from its cities, to its new modes of travel and transportation, to photography; and how all this affected its art. We then discuss her PhD, which she is completing at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and is entitled ‘Retour de Paris. Artistic Exchanges Between the Netherlands and France 1789-1914’, as well as the exhibition she guest-curated titled 'The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914', held at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and in Paris at the Petit Paleis. Lastly, Mayken explains what it is about the art of the nineteenth century that most fascinates her; and what it is that this period in history can teach us, today.

Here you can listen to the podcast we reference in the episode, 'Dutch Artists in Paris', in which Mayken discusses her research.

You can find out more about the RKD over on their website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Jan 31, 202301:25:12
Anne de Jong

Anne de Jong

'...I was always more drawn to modern art. But I love all art. I'll go to any museum; whether they show ancient or modern art. But I specialized in modern art, because it's always excited me; like its new ways of making, new ways of viewing things. That's always fascinated me. And I was always, during my studies, always writing about new art and avant-garde art. Surrealism was a huge interest of mine. Futurism; Dadaism; all these 'isms' from the 20s. And then, of course, conceptual art from the 60s. These new types of ideas have always excited me; made me want to push boundaries, and stretch ideas, of what art is, and can be.'

—Anne de Jong

For the sixth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Anne de Jong; Gallery Manager and Curator at Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I first became aware of Anne's work when I stopped by the exhibition 'Future Bodies' at the gallery in October of 2022; an exhibit about the human body in relation to technology, as manifested in works created by eight different artists that encompassed the show. The exhibition was the first that Anne has curated at Upstream Gallery, where she has worked since 2015. Anne studied art history, then modern and contemporary art, at the University of Amsterdam, where she received her BA and MA degrees, and where she developed her academic interest in digital art, spurring from her love of art 'isms'.

In this episode, we discuss her love of art and how she came to be collaborating with, what is arguably one of the most digitally progressive art galleries in Amsterdam; her ideas behind the curation process of staging the exhibit 'Future Bodies', and why she included the artists she did; her thoughts on art and the blockchain; and what makes Upstream the leading Dutch gallery in the field of digital artist representation. In her role, she collaborates with some of the leading artists working in digital formats—including NFTs—today; such as Jan Robert Leegte and Harm van den Dorpel. To conclude; Anne discusses her thoughts on NFTs; and we both share a moment of joy when we learn we both own an NFT, from Marina Abramovic's genesis Tezos NFT collection, 'The Hero'.

You can find out more about Upstream Gallery on their website and Instagram.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Jan 14, 202301:01:48
Christi Klinkert

Christi Klinkert

‘…And this gave me; I think it gave me; not just the knowledge of that medium and the specific period of time. But also the conviction, that if you put your mind to it, and take a little time—that in a year or two you’ll be a specialist too. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you cannot be a specialist; even if you haven’t studied something in previous years. You can always be a specialist.’

—Christi Klinkert

For the fifth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Christi Klinkert, who is, since 2009, the Curator of Old Masters at the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, in the Netherlands. Under her tenure, the museum has increasingly staged innovative exhibitions, which often focus on topics or themes related to Alkmaar or North Holland in general. In this lengthy, nearly two-hour-long episode, we discuss her early love of the arts, and how she came to relay that passion into a dissertation on newsprints and propaganda in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We then discuss the biography and work of Allaert van Everdingen, and the exhibition she curated entitled: 'Allaert Van Everdingen: Master of the Rugged Landscape', which ran from 18 September 2021-8 May 2022.

In the second half of the episode, Christi and I step inside the exhibition space itself, and she explains its main ideas and key artworks; ranging from topics such as the show’s physical design to its installation; its inclusion of works by Dutch photographer Pascal Vossen; to the clustering of Allaert's works by themes and size. After leaving the exhibition space, we reflect on the catalogue that was produced by Christi and her team at the museum. Lastly, Christi lays out what's to come in the years ahead at the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, such as an exhibit on artist Maarten van Heemskerk, and another on slavery at a plantation named Alkmaar, named after the city; which recently opened at the museum, entitled: 'Plantage Alkmaar: Alkmaar in Suriname 1745-to Today', and is on display, until spring 2023.

You can find out more about the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar over on their website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Dec 31, 202201:52:34
Marleen Ram

Marleen Ram

'The Teylers is a natural history museum, and up until the nineteenth century collected all kinds of beautiful books on birds. And one of those books is about doves—and Pauline de Courcelles made the illustrations for that book, and became very famous for it. We didn't have any drawings by her in the collection... She specialized in bird drawings. And there are not so many drawings by her on the market, so we were pretty lucky to find one. It's a large drawing on vellum and the colors are super bright. It's a bird of paradise; a really colorful, beautiful, elegant bird. The colors red and purple are still so bright... And, unfortunately, we don't have many drawings by female artists in our collection... So it's really wonderful that we could now add a work by her, to our collection.'

—Marleen Ram

For the fourth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Marleen Ram—Curator of Art Collections at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Marleen's career has, so far, allowed her to live and, work, in Florence, Paris, and Amsterdam—at the Uffizi Gallery, the Fondation Custodia, and at the Rijksmuseum's Prentenkabinet, respectively—where she researched and published on some of the most well-known and treasured drawings from artists ranging from Rafael to Rembrandt, and many more. We begin this episode by discussing her formative years living and working in those cities; how she gained her connoisseurial eye for studying Old Master drawings, by spending so much time studying drawings firsthand; and what she learned from these experiences.

Later in the episode, Marleen reflects further on her work with drawings in art museums during the early-2010s, and the importance of museums digitizing and making their collections accessible, during that same period. We then zoom in on how she found her way to the Teylers Museum, and the museum's own history; the upcoming exhibition she is preparing with a team at the museum, about its former keeper—and an artist himself—Wybrand Hendricks; and then discuss the museum's recent acquisition of a gorgeous bird of paradise drawing, by French artist Pauline de Courcelles. Lastly, Marleen muses on what life was like in the eighteenth century, and to conclude, expounds on what makes Old Master drawings so special, and worth spending the time, to look at, up close.

You can find out more about the Teylers Museum over on their website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Dec 14, 202246:55
Marrigje Rikken

Marrigje Rikken

'Lots of artists from the Southern Netherlands migrated to Haarlem, and Haarlem really became a breeding ground for new artistic genres. So I would describe the Haarlem school as being very innovative in a way. And that happened early on; even earlier than the early sixteenth century... There was something in the Haarlem climate that made artists come here... there are beautiful surroundings of course, with the dunes. And there was also a very stimulating city council, which is why a lot of artists came to Haarlem–and that made it possible for these artists to come to the top of their game, here in the city.'

—Marrigje Rikken

For the third episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Marrigje Rikken—Head of Collections & Presentations at the Frans Hals Museum. In her role, Marrigje is responsible for the care and display of the museum's many artworks; a task that entails knowledge of every aspect of a museum's inter-working parts; from loans and lectures to exhibitions and educational initiatives. All the while ensuring the needs of the museum’s audiences are addressed—from the casual exhibition visitor to dedicated scholar. We discuss her early-childhood interest in art, museums, and her own art historical trajectory, and then zoom-in on the museum.

Marrigje recently curated the exhibition 'Frans Hals and the Moderns', which was supported by an extensive series of educational and scholarly programs, and is just one of the many exhibitions and publications she has been involved with throughout her career. As the museum continues to evolve, and more recently changed directors—seeing the departure of Ann De Meester, and the entry of Lidewij de Koekkoek—we also look back at the museum's rebranding by KesselsKramer, and how that's reactivated the museum in the minds of the public, among many other topics.

You can learn more about the Frans Hals Museum over on their website.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Nov 30, 202245:31
Scott Baker

Scott Baker

'In the case of, like, you know, the Rembrandts or a Clara Peeters—where these figures or still lifes are just emerging from darkness. And, really bold color uses on top of... you know, very dark... deep. There's a lot of depth. Basically, it's like, the browner and darker it is with hints of gold and pop—up front—that seem to disappear into the background. That might be, a Dutch Golden Age painting!'

—Scott Baker

For the second episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Scott Baker—a Seattle-based artist and all-around European art history advocate. Scott and I first met in early 2022, when I acquired an artwork he created, of a pixelated interpretation of Rembrandt's 1629 painting—Self-Portrait, Age 23—in the form of an Ethereum NFT. The original painting today hangs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, which Scott is intimately familiar with, having grown up just outside of the city—whose museums house a treasure trove of artworks, by the Dutch Old Masters.

In this European painting and contemporary digital art-focused talk, we discuss how Scott first came to appreciate Old Master paintings and European art history, from Matisse to Frans Hals; his trajectory as a, primarily digital artist, and the process behind his work; the story of how I came to acquire his pixelated Rembrandt artwork, as well as his thoughts on NFTs and the blockchain, in relation to digital art; and to conclude, the importance and relevance of museums and Old Master paintings to the contemporary culture, of 2022.

View the artwork created by Scott, based on Rembrandt's 1629 Self-Portrait, Age 23, entitled Rembrandt Harmenszoon van 8-bit No. 01.

You can learn more about Scott and his work, over at his profile on Instagram.

You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website

Oct 31, 202201:22:57
Robert Thiemann
Sep 30, 202201:04:52
Coming Soon: Dutch Art & Design Today

Coming Soon: Dutch Art & Design Today

Art and design, from the Netherlands. 'Dutch Art & Design Today' is a new show hosted by John Bezold, which explores these two worlds and those working within them. From publishers and artists, to designers and curators, painters and podcasters; this podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of their work, to find out why Dutch art and design is so highly regarded across cultures, and time. You can find John on Twitter @johnbezold and at his website Cover Art: Mainstudio, Amsterdam. Instrumental Music: Andrey, Ukraine.
Apr 14, 202200:54