Past imperfect

Saturday’s probably an odd day for a museum visit. Especially when the rest of the country is getting ready for today’s match against Argentina.

I don’t go to museums often enough. The Stedelijk Museum is the most important museum of modern and contemporary art in The Netherlands – and this was only my second visit of the 90’s.

There were several interesting exhibitions. ‘From the corner of the Eye’ showcases 14 gay artists’ work. Humour seemed to dominate the installations, videos, sculptures, paintings and drawings. More serious were the photos of Boris Michailov – stark, real, sometimes sad but always powerful pictures of the USSR, a society fallen apart. Absolutely stunning was the Stenberg (‘mouseover’ to see a poster) exhibit: two brothers designing film posters in revolutionary Russia. Amazing drawings in deep blues, reds, yellows and blacks, announcing ordinary documentaries as if they were thrilling Film Noirs.

Outside, the match had started. Walking around deserted Amsterdam, we heard groups of people shouting, gathered in pubs and restaurants, looking up at the t.v. screens. We thought it would be a cool idea to go around town and photograph these people.

We kept up with the score like that, walking back to Central Station, stopping in for a coffee somewhere, gazing through windows whenever we heard them screaming. When Dennis Bergkamp scored in the 90th minute, a tremor could be felt. It gave me goosebumps.

When we got back in Utrecht, all hell had broke loose. The town was orange, people were drinking everywhere, driving around, honking horns. I can’t stand mass hysteria. I know just how quickly the milk turns sour:

When we didn’t cheer on demand, we were called ‘dykes’. (So I have short hair and wear trousers… dickhead men think I’m gay.) One car almost ran me off the road – a guy alone, waving his stupid scarf out of his window, slowing down when I gave him the finger. My friend got caught in a group of drunks playing football in the middle of the street – she almost got hit by the ball.

It was a perfect day. Almost.

PS. I bought two great books: 1. ‘the covers of Wendingen’: 216 covers of a 1918/1931 Dutch design magazine. 2. Lay In – Lay Out, an odd study of Dutch graphic design.

Links of the Day:

The ‘From the corner of the eye’ exhibition comprises part of the cultural programme accompanying the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam.: