Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 6 & 7: JFK to AMS

Our flight left New York late Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Amsterdam early Wednesday morning. We got to the Hotel Beethoven about 7:00 a.m. Of course, we couldn't check in yet, so we explored the neighborhood around the hotel. We started with a latte at Starbucks; none of the local coffee shops were open yet, and it was nice to be greeted in English with the usual Starbucks courtesy.

Our hotel is located on a busy boulevard, but on either side is a planned residential area. We explored an area of pretty brick row houses surrounding a school, a small park, and a church.

Church near our hotel in Amsterdam

A few blocks farther on we ran into a parkway with a permanent sculpture. The identifying plaque was in Dutch, but a nice lady who was walking her dog stopped to help us figure it out. It commemorates the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazi occupation by Canadian forces toward the end of World War II. The nice lady was named Deborah Murphy; she had immigrated from Toronto.

The Peace Ribbon

Farther up the parkway we discovered a temporary art exhibit. We figured it would be local work by artists we didn't know, but it turned out to have several pieces by one of our favorite contemporary sculptors, Tony Cragg.

Tony Cragg, b. 1949
Mean Average, 2014

A bunch of local high school kids were touring the show as a class assignment.

Tony Cragg, b. 1949
Runner, 2013

We were amazed to see these giant tin-foil covered nails by John Chamberlain because he is famous for sculptures made from crushed car bodies.

John Chamberlain, 1927-1011
Ardentflirt, 2008
What is Chamberlain trying to say with these twisted forms? In the one below, the nails have got themselves tied into a knot, but they seem to be straining to get away. Is it something about the stress of working together? I didn't catch the title of the one below.

John Chamberlain, 1927-1011
Mermaidsmischief, 2009

When we saw a giant head looming in the distance we guessed it would be Jaume Plensa. He made a similar head in white for the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.

Jaume Plensa, b. 1955
Duna, 2014

This one is made from cast iron.

Jaume Plensa, b. 1955
Duna, 2014

We liked this work by a sculptor who was new to us. This character seems to feel nonplussed by life; it's all too much for him.

KAWS, b. 1974
At this Time, 2013

We had wandered quite far from our hotel by the time we received an e-mail message on my iPad that our room was ready, about 11 a.m. We hurried back, moved into our room, and collapsed for several hours of sleep, as we had been up all night.