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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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Giancarlo Pazzanese

Dutch Art & Design TodayMay 01, 2023

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
Apr 14, 202200:54