SKIP THE SEASONED MASTERS THIS SUMMER AND HEAD TO THE UNDERGROUND
In summer, most galleries in town take a well-deserved break from unearthing the newest and greatest and fill their white walls with the ubiquitous ‘Summer Group Show’ – which sceptics might argue is the perfect opportunity to offload works they have hanging around. But if you’re still craving something new and exciting, check out the secret world of Amsterdam’s underground art spaces (just remember to double check opening hours first).
Krugerplein 36a, bermcollectief.blogspot.com, Open daily 13.00-17.00
Founded in 2010 by two Rietveld graduates, BERM is an exciting ‘project space’ addition to the city’s underground gallery scene. The focus is on community and social-minded contemporary art – an important theme among the smaller spaces in town. Workshops, exhibitions, film nights and an artist-in-residency programme are just a sampling of what’s on offer.
De Service Garage
Cruquiusweg 79, www.vriendenvandeservicegarage.nl, Open Wed-Sun 12.00-18.00
Originally established in 2007 and now relocated in a 450-square-metre space in Oost, this cultural platform has remained a locals’ favourite due to its continued ability to present an exciting and varied programme, which reflects the depth of creative energy that is present in the city. One of the original ‘project spaces’ (famously at the base of the Post CS building), they showcase local illustrators, designers, photographers and more, and the results are typically exciting, if sometimes a little baffling – in a good way, of course.
Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan 125, projectgoleb.wordpress.com, Open by appointment
This artist-run work-and-living space in Bos en Lommer (Amsterdam’s newest art-buzz neighbourhood?) provides studios for nine in-house artists, an artist-in-residency programme and a 70-square-metre project space to accommodate exhibitions, screenings, lectures and general unbound experimentation. It’s very international and very multidisciplinary, offering music, performance and video art. Themes often veer towards activism and emancipation through expression on personal and community levels.
Sanderijnstraat 21, www.kulter.nl, Open Thur-Sat 13.00-18.00 (or if the socks are on the Amsterdammertjes)
This self-described ‘proeflokaal’ (tasting room) is definitely worth the cycle or tram ride out to Bos en Lommer. Functioning as both an intimate gallery space that specialises in bridging art with performance, music and words, and as a collective that organises events in collaboration with other artist-run initiatives, Kulter’s true accomplishment is the creation of an accessible, relaxed and homely atmosphere. Enjoy a meal and a discussion with the artists before they’ve gone on to even greater things.
Jan Tooropstraat 35, www.outpost-slotervaart.tk, Open by appointment
This gallery’s current location in Slotervaart was originally squatted in 2009, borne out of a necessity to provide young artists a place to show their work. Its strength remains its credible contact with those looking to exhibit outside the mainstream circuit. Now more established, the gallery has also started booking artists from outside the Netherlands, as exemplified by its recent show by British artist Craig Barnes.
Wagenaarstraat 331, schrank8.blogspot.com, Opening times vary with exhibition
If diversity is what you’re after from a gallery, this little gem is for you. Found in the living room-cum-studio of graphic designer Hansje van Halem, the star of this show (after the art, of course) is a 1930s wood and glass showcase cabinet originally from Germany. Every two months (or thereabouts) its doors open to host works by local artists and designers. Opening parties are usually cosy affairs, with DJs tucked in the corner of the room and a warm meal on the stove in the kitchen. Previous exhibitors include such local luminaries as Bart de Baets, Miek Zwamborn, Michiel Schuurman and Job Wouters.
Haarlemmermeerstraat 89-2, www.tetoprojects.com, Open Fri, Sat 13.00-18.00
In October of 2009 this apartment/project space began functioning as a platform for current art and design practices. Spurred on by the need to show young, recent academy graduates, curator Hercules Martins began checking out final exam exhibitions and approaching artists who in someway appealed to him. The programme continues to focus on a process-driven approach to the production, presentation and discussion of art and its practice.