Amsterdam is the most important cultural and artistic centre of the north, representing a contact point for many different spheres of art. Renowned for the Masters from the Golden Age who have settled in the Dutch capital in the ancient 1600s, Amsterdam still plays a key role in the art world. Open for those who like experimenting or seeing and buying the most recent in painting, photography, urban, street art and other media, Amsterdam is the perfect place to spend time and money in. Skip the big museums! Amsterdam is full of galleries showcasing mind-blowing contemporary and urban art. We’ve made a list of the ten most noteworthy. Enjoy!
The GO Gallery is a professional street art gallery in Amsterdam, known for its many exhibitions in the genre. It is located near the famous 11 meter high drawing of the artist duo The London Police, in the center of Amsterdam. It is led by Oscar van der Voorn and Farud Cambatta, who follow the work of the clients they represent for years and provide an open platform for them to exhibit. In addition, the GO Gallery offers its space in a suitable ambiance for meetings, product presentation or even a cocktail party, be it for business or pleasure.
If you are looking for art, pay a visit to Isabelle Vroom and Olivier Varossieau’s gallery because it brings the most exciting works in the fields of urban contemporary and street art movements, from internationally acclaimed stars to the best upcoming talents. Look for Art Gallery was founded in 2010, and ever since organizes ambitious art projects in its friendly and creative environment. Isabelle Vroom and Olivier Varossieau also offer advisory services to their clients, encouraging them to collect art not only from the exhibitors they represent but also from the strong secondary market.
Upstream Gallery is an internationally oriented platform specializing in contemporary art, founded by Nieck de Bruijn in 2003. The venue quickly positioned itself in the Amsterdam art world as a daring place that showed young, promising and sometimes rebellious artists. During more than ten years of its existence, the status of Upstream Gallery and its exhibitors has shifted from talented and promising towards more well known and established. It is precisely this mix of undiscovered young talent and bigger names that keeps the exhibition program of Upstream Gallery always in the fresh and interesting news.
W139 is a presentation and production space for contemporary art, located in the heart of Amsterdam's famous red light district. It runs primarily on the ambition and energy of performers, making it primarily organized as an artist-run space. W139 was founded in 1979, in the space that was originally a theater, by a group of young artists who wanted to present an alternative to the collections and exhibitions on show at the city’s museums and commercial locations. In the course of 34 years, W139 has evolved from an anti-establishment squat into a professional non-institutional platform for contemporary art. The program includes both Dutch and international exhibitors who are invited to develop a new (site-specific) work for the W139 area. Today, W139 operates parallelly with, rather than in opposition to, the more established exhibition venues.
Radar is a project created in 2008 by Marco de Piaggi who considers it an "avant-garde monitor". Its aim is identification, creation and exhibition of artistic forms such as sculpture, painting, printing, photography, architecture, video art and music. Radar 'captures' all creative forms that are at the same time radical, actual and urgent. For this reason, Radar is constantly looking for young artists who are taking their first steps in this direction. The ones represented by Radar are Nisja, Laser 3.14, Marcel Ozymantra, Dirk Polak, to name but a few.
The newly named Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam is one of the best in the city. It was founded in the autumn of 2000 by Gerhard Hofland. Since then, it has participated in numerous art fairs as well as organizing exhibitions in collaboration with other locations and museums worldwide. Gerhard Hofland Gallery is dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists striving for museum recognition and wider reputation. All of the represented ones have a strong, outspoken formal language in their work.
Fons Welters Gallery opened its doors in 1988. Located in the heart of the Amsterdam gallery district, it focuses on emerging stars. If you are an artist who has just begun to build a career, this is the right place to start, because Fons Welters Gallery’s primary aim is to work with artists in the early stage in their professional development. Besides working with Dutch exhibitors, the attention of the gallery is also focused on clients from outside of Netherlands. Almost all of the ones represented started their career at the gallery, and many of them have now entered the international arena. Fons Welters Gallery exhibits cutting-edge contemporary art, from painting through sculpture and installation to multimedia. Since September 2000, the front space of the gallery has been turned into a small project space, called Playstation. This space features younger performers, fresh from the academies, who are offered an opportunity to exhibit their works.
This small, unpretentious but very active gallery is located on the Signel canal in the centre of Amsterdam. ArTicks Gallery is specialized in contemporary street and urban art, featuring original works by both international and local exhibitors. The shows at ArTicks Gallery are designed and curated with an eye for skill, passion and humor. Its team of artists is rapidly growing, representing several artist collectives from Amsterdam such as Codex Inferno, Mokum Zoo, IKS Crew, Hot Mama Hot, Free Jordan Fighters. It is also a place of contact for individual artisans, both within and outside of Netherlands, like Merijn Kavelaars, Marc Zedone, Replete and Steven BLADE Ogburn, among others.
This Amsterdam urban art gallery has a reputation for being secretive. In the "about" section on its website you’ll find only this: The Garage is a 17th century carriage house in the canals of Amsterdam. We work with select international artists to put on private, high-end, low-key shows. The Garage gallery hosts exhibitions from local, national and international artists. Rumor has it that the only way to know about the next event at this canal-side gallery is through its newsletter, if you sign up to it, of course.
BE UNAFRAID. BE UNRULY. That’s what the guys from Unruly Gallery in Amsterdam demand from themselves, its members and the public. The owner and gallery director are artists themselves, so they have a point of view closer to the exhibitors than most gallerists. The Unruly Gallery makes art and sells art. It opened its doors, which constantly change look as they are always painted by the artist presented, in May 2011. The founder is Niels Shoe Meulman who has solid roots in the graffiti art scene of the 1980s. Meulman began tagging ‘Shoe’ in 1979 and became a graffiti legend by the time he was 18. He revolutionized the art of writing with Calligraffiti, an art form that fuses calligraphy and graffiti. In the eighties he formed the Crime Time Kings with Bando from Paris and Mode2 from London. Together they gave graffiti in Europe its own distinctive style. In the nineties, Meulman ran his own design company, Caulfield & Tensing, and was partner in the advertising agency Unruly, which he later turned into a brand for silk scarves and a gallery. Most of the artists represented by Unruly gallery are in some way related to Meulman’s personal network. Some of them, who have exhibited in the past two to three years at Unruly are Nug, Egs, Paul du Bois-Reymond, Vincent van de Waal, Wayne Horse, Petro, Pane, Adele Renault, and Rae Martini. The artisans to be promoted in 2014 are Mode2, Bando and Shoe.
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