Posted inArt

Why Don’t People Get the New Stedelijk?

Dissing the Stedelijk Museum’s new Mels Crouwel–designed wing, New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman off-handedly compared the building to a “ridiculous” bathroom tub that suggested to him the sensation of “hearing Bach played by a man wearing a clown suit.” On the speed-rail ride back to Paris from a visit to the Amsterdam institution, it occurred to me that he completely got it wrong. Mels Crouwel did not give the museum a tub; he gave it a captivating sarcophagus, an often tub-shaped funeral receptacle designed to hold a corpse. And that is as it should be. After all, modernism is long dead.

Posted inOpinion

Actors Restage Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” in Mall

A thief in a garish feathered hat runs out of a shopping mall store with a leather bag clutched in his hand. He jumps down the stairs and tries desperately to escape as ropes descend down the mall’s atrium. Guards emerge to catch the criminal — but they’re on horseback, dressed in brimmed caps, and decked out with ruffled collars. A regiment of guards on foot marches toward the thief with halberds outstretched. After they catch the would-be escapee, a frame falls from the ceiling of the mall and brackets a view of proud policemen: This is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.”