Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It began with rain, but ended up something of a scorcher, though I wish I could say the same for my museum visits.

Firstly I got my accommodation settled. My only remaining problem was to get there. As the Modern Art Museum (Stedelijk Museum) is now located near Central Station, I thought I'd drop in first to check up on trains to Paris. There's no open information booth at all for international journeys, instead you have to collect a numbered ticket and await your turn in a USIT like office. Thankfully I didn't have long to wait and the upshot was that there were no direct trains, I'd have to stop in Brussels, I could book there and then without my Interrail ticket and it would cost 14 euro for a reservation fee. Sweet. At first I thought Mr Information Man said 40 euro (I still think he did), but he wrote 14 and that was fine by me. I'm off tomorrow at 11.20.

I came out to more rain, though luckily this time I had MAC IN A SAC! Saved! Lucky too, because the new museum is not immediately obvious. From the map it appears to be right beside the station, but it's hidden a little. It's camouflaged still more by it's "Office Block" disguise. I'm surprised anyone finds it. I'm surprised anyone would want to. The exhibits are only on the 3rd and 2nd floors and after going all that way to see the Chagalls and Klees etc., it turned out this was a restricted selection showing nothing earlier than 1968. What's more the bulk of the exhibition (the third floor being half empty) was taken up with a show on commerical aircraft! Now I did find one or two things of interest (drawings of a proposed mid-Atlantic airport/island for transatlantic crossings in the 30's, for instance), but by and large this was a big disappointment. There were a series of very interesting "movies" by Saskia Olde Wolbers that looked like computer generated works, but were actually done using models in an aquarium. It's strange, but despite being pieces by a Dutch artist, being shown in a Dutch gallery, the narrations were all in English. (By the way, Sean, I missed your call while watching these.)

Anyhow when I got out the sun was splitting the gables and I got a crowded tram back to the hotel.


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