Art in corona times 102. The end of ‘Art in corona times’. What next?

Art in corona times 1. 2 May 2020, SinArts Gallery

From May 2nd 2020 onwards i started categorising photo reports about exhibitions in Villa Next Door under the header Art in corona times.

Art in corona times 4, 15 May 2020, Topp & Dubio
Art in corona times 7a, 4 June 2020, A.R. Penck, Kunstmuseum, The Hague
Art in corona times 11, 23 June 2020, Mazen Ashkar, 1646
Art in corona times 18, 29 July 2020, Janice McNab, Stroom
Art in corona times 23, 19 August 2020, Caravaggio, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

By that time the corona restrictions were already intensely experienced by the arts sector. These days Covid-19 is still there but the heaviest lockdown measures have been lifted, so Art in corona times will be history for the time being. Art in corona times started with a visit to SinArts Gallery . I hadn’t seen Alex Lebbink, SinArts’ gallerist, for quite some time and he had organised time slots for individual visitors. The idea was that the corona measures would be very temporary and that i would use the label Art in corona times for a few postings, just to see how galleries and other art platforms were doing during the crisis and after that it would be more or less business as usual. However, that proved to be quite naive. Corona became a way of life in which the arts were not seen as an essential need in life. At first artists and other professionals were more or less empathetic to that idea, but as the crisis went on and on, the government’s sheer lack of interest for the arts became a thorn in the flesh of many an art professional, especially after the health minister’s remark that if you cannot go to the theatre you might as well stay at home and see a dvd, as if there was no difference between the two. Last week i posted Art in corona times 101 with some extra footage of the interesting exhibition about Aad de Haas at the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam and that was the last one under the corona banner.

Art in corona times 29, 17 September 2020, Steamboat, Trixie
Art in corona times 34, 28 September 2020, Jessica de Wolf, Artist Support Fair, Quartair
Art in corona times 37, 13 October 2020, Robbin Heyker’s Birding Club, featuring Arjan Dwarshuis
Art in corona times 43, 7 November 2020, Simphiwe Ndzube, Nest, The Hague
Art in corona times 48, 30 November 2020, Sjimmie Veenhuis, …ism

For those who want to have an idea of what was on show during the pandemic Art in corona times is easily locatable in Villa Next Door.

Art in corona times 52, 14 December 2020, Ellen Yiu, A Finger in Every Pie, Royal Academy students’ pre-graduation show

Lockdowns etc are over now but that doesn’t mean the worries about this or any other virus are gone.

Art in corona times 56, 20 February 2021, Ingrid Rollema, PIP Den Haag
Art in corona times 59, 14 March 2021, Paul van der Eerden, Romy Muijrers, Galerie Maurits van de Laar
Art in corona times 64, 9 April 2021, André Kruysen, Galerie Ramakers
Art in corona times 68, 30 April 2021, Zhang Shujian, PARTS Project
Art in corona times 75, 11 June 2021, Marion van Rooi, Jan Wattjes, Luuk Kuipers, Quartair

Covid-19 may return with a more dangerous version, and an altogether new and equally or more dangerous virus may come. The question is not if it will come, but when it will come. The bird flu virus being one of the most obvious contenders in the real viral world. Another worry in the aftermath of corona is the questionable urge of authorities to control everything and everybody, if possible with modern technology. This urge is understandable as authorities of any political colour try to influence social processes for the benefit of society as a whole. However, even before the Corona crisis it has already been proven that this urge to control has turned against citizens, as a holy faith in the objectivity of modern technology, market forces and a reduction of the state to a kind of control device has replaced a democracy in which different opinions in society play a role. Villa Next Door is not the place to make a deep analysis about society, politics, the free market, modern technology, the influence of debilitating conspiracy theories, and a considerable chunk of society that rather believes in so-called alternative facts than in real facts, that prefers evil tales to science. However this is the framework – as i see it – in which art is made, seen and presented today in this country, and i want to be clear about the context in which i give you my reports about exhibitions and art in this blog. After all, you don’t have to agree, but you should know. Another worry is the new situation with the war in Ukraine. One might suggest i should replace Art in corona times with Art in war times. However, the Netherlands are at the moment not at war with any other country. Also, it should be said that another devastating war is going on in Yemen for seven years now. Although this is principally a civil war, it has become internationalised, with other countries in the Middle East intervening. The conflict in Ukraine may have a global significance, or rather, it will have, even if the war itself remains physically limited to Ukraine. That, together with the devils unleashed during the Corona crisis, will bring us interesting but also ominous times. So, in the mean time, i repost some pictures here of some highlights of Art in corona times.

Art in corona times 81a, 12 July 2021, Joseph Palframan. Royal Academy, The Hague
Art in corona times 82b, 26 August 2021, Farkhondeh Shahroudi. Sonsbeek 20-24, Arnhem
Art in corona times 88, 27 September 2021, Yaïr Callender, Kadmium, Delft
Art in corona times 95, 17 December 2021, Casper Verborg, Galerie Helder
Art in corona times 97, 21 January 2022, Yesim Akdeniz, Dürst Britt & Mayhew

Hope to see you soon in real life or in this blog, stay healthy and sane, and keep your eyes open!

Art in corona times 101, 16 February 2022, Aad de Haas, Chabot Museum, Rotterdam

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© Villa Next Door 2022

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists, galleries, art platforms, museums and owners of the works.

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 56. Ingrid Rollema, Blinded by the Light; PIP Den Haag, The Hague

Vividly i remember the swarming locusts bumping into my sweating body.

The gluttonous insects were a disaster for the local famers, and, sticking with thorny legs to my shirt, they looked like panicking monstrous aliens, both defiant and afraid.

Seeing them in bright sunlight, they nevertheless also bore this aura of insatiable gluttony, of mass hysteria and of a robotic mind-set focused on bringing the world to the brink of disaster.

In the mean time birds were feasting on them, turning disaster into profit.

Artist Ingrid Rollema (1953) has made bronze sculptures of the voracious beasts.

She has upsized them and made them actors in a shadow play at PIP Den Haag .

The nastiness of their aura has now been enlarged and shaped into bedevilling shadows that accompany them.

The shadows, although fixed, seem to move because of the lighting, and have a life of their own, as auras and reputations have.

As a visitor you stand in the middle of the theatre as part of the cast, surrounded by these shadows, who look more real and alive than the sculptures, until a flash of lightning brings an end to it all and leaves everything in the dark.

Away are all ideas and haunting shapes.

What have you seen and how real was it?

You can discuss it all with the artist who will welcome you with a drink in the safest of circumstances regarding covid-19; only one visitor per 30 minutes is allowed and the space is well ventilated.

She has kept advertising the show as low-profile as possible, to make sure only the really interested people are visiting and that no difficult situations with queuing will occur.

The experience itself lasts some eight minutes.

Now that you’ve come here, you might as well subscribe to Villa Next Door (top right of the page)!

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Ingrid Rollema and PIP, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 34. Artist Support Fair, Geen bloem zonder wortel (No Flower Without a Root); Quartair, The Hague

Lambert de Jong

What a good event this was, last weekend at Quartair!

Petra van der Schoot

Rik Buter

Caro Rambonnet

It stressed the exceptional position of The Hague in the field of the arts, but it also indicated that that doesn’t happen just like that.

Bertus Gerssen

Marjolijn van der Meij (with a nod to George Stubbs)

Less than thirty years ago The Hague was a provincial backwater.

Ton Schuttelaar

Annemieke Louwerens

Bringing it where it is now, has taken a lot of energy.

Sogo Show

Ingrid Rollema

However, art life in The Hague is still very vulnerable.

Nies Vooijs

Zeger Reyers

Main point is that it should be recognised that the development of a blossoming artistic life in The Hague is up to its artists and its artists’ initiatives and not to the local authorities’ hobbies.

Machiel van Soest

Rens Krikhaar

Geeske Harting

Therefore it is heart warming to see artists trying to take back the initiative.

Mekhila Harrison

Riet Vooijs

Of course this can only be a beginning, and in itself the event was modest in almost everything.

Paul de Jong

Jordan Herregraven

Tejo Philips

175 works of art were put up for sale, each for E300 or less, and so the works on show were small.

Erik-Jan Ligtvoet

Erik-Jan Ligtvoet

However, what it lacked in dimensions, it won in diversity.

Harold de Bree

Gino Anthonisse

This diversity is one of the best assets of art life in The Hague.

Hein van Liempd

Wieteke Heldens

Here i show you thirty of the works i found most interesting and best photographable.

Zahar Bondar

Topp & Dubio

A very personal choice of course, but that’s the risk of reading Villa Next Door.

Jeannette Slütter

Ilona Senghore

Jessica de Wolf

By the way, while writing these words, extra measures were announced by the government to cope with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, so, the title of the open letter that accompanied the event Don’t forget the artists! has become even more urgent.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to artists and Quartair, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters