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Niki Mama (1998)……RIP

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This replica sculpture i bought when i was still working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Jan van Capellen of the  Museumshop had these sculptures made after and inspired by the Nana sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle. He had hundreds of these made in all kinds of color schemes and decorations. The greatest part of them, small and midsized aprox. 12 inches in height on wooden bases….many were sold including dozens of these sculptures at the museumshop of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, one time….. when i tried to order more, i heard that a copyright lawsuit had stopped these from being produced, distributed and sold. That is when i stepped in and bought the remainder of these great decorative small statues and 1 bigger one, made of polyester and decorated in my favorite colors. It was with us for many many years….. in the garden ….looking like the real thing but knowing that it only was a replica. It witnessed Lucas growing older, the divorce with Sylvia and the coming of Linda and it was there to see that we were planning to move and found a new place near the Warffemius sculpture in Leidschendam. It even was nicely refurbished by Linda when i was away for a business trip, but after last years winter she showed her fragility. Paint came off, chips of polyester made her skin look rough and we knew that it was not long before we had to say goodbye to her. Yesterday, i put her gently in the back of my car and today we parted as good friends after 22 years.

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The only “Niki Mama’s” we have left are 2 small indoor ones. The blue one was the first present i gave Linda and the black one stayed in our home, being the last of all the Mama’s i have sold.

Of course http://www.ftn-books.com has some great egnuine Niki de Saint Phalle publications available.

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Gemeentemseum Den Haag..From Rodin to Bourgeois

It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped  and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.

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This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.

I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.

A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in  a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit www.ftn-books.com and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.

One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.

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