Prinsengracht, Anne Frank Huis & Kunstenaars


My first half hour in the actual city of Amsterdam and I find myself wandering down Prinsengracht. I did not realize how important this street was and I am not quite sure what led me in the wrong direction and put me there. Prinsengracht loosely translates as Prince’s Canal, which I figured out once I realized all the grachts were also canal streets…  I think it was quite synchronous that I bump into the Anne Frank Huis. I didn’t go inside the house, because of time, but it was fascinating just to see its location. It makes me wonder what it would be like stuck hiding in that specific location for so long, and imagine all of the noises and operations regularly going on around me. Just seeing the house from the outside gives the story so much more context. I hope also to visit and explore the jodenhoek. I have been deeply drawn to Amsterdam for so long, without really understanding why I wanted to come here so badly. Of course why would you not want to live in an incredibly progressive, green, and intellectual nation that utilizes sensibility in its developed Western practices??? And who’s citizens are bilingual, healthy, and happy?… That’s not to even mention the great Dutch art and its contemporary genius. Anyway I do feel some sort of weird pseudo-Jewish connection to this place. I can’t explain the feeling, but its bright purple with magenta.

The second bit of synchronicity I encountered was all of the amazing art galleries. I had not realized that over 78 art spaces, galleries, museums and etc were all located on Prinsengracht and its surrounding area. I was not in search of the art spaces when I first arrived, because I knew I would spend time looking later, but here I bumped into them all by accident, immediately after entering the city. There was some incredible and inspiring work. Most notable was Levi Van Veluw (levivanveluw.com) at Galerie Ron Mandos. The detail of his pieces and execution were perfect. I thought the work had to be 3D rendered and filmed digitally… or 3D printed… but it was actually just great concept met with great craftsmanship. The physical rooms were so well done. The photos don’t even seem possible: 

The other gallery I had a chance to step into: Go Gallery had a nice exhibit about Raymond Lemstra and his 1-week residency “EEN WEEK” in the gallery. Each day he dedicated to collaborating with another artist friend. As I just spent a lot of time collaborating with Darrell Kinsel on Magic Organs http://issuu.com/juliemallis/docs/magicorgans  I could appreciate the process and the quality of the work.

Lastly, I met a nice shop owner who gave me a neat little map for free and I’ve been having a lot of fun talking in Dutch (just barely). It feels good to walk into places where you don’t understand what anyone around you is saying. I barely feel like an outsider though. I didn’t go through any real “culture shock”. Partially because any developed Western nation is going to be quite similar, and partially because James helped me to learn the basic lingo and the town’s layout quite quickly. When I engage in transactions (ordering food, paying for things, etc) I speak in dutch and most of the time they continue to converse with me without needing to switch to English or rather thinking I need to switch to English. It’s quite nice. I quite like it here.

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