Let’s celebrate the year by having our Christmas staff party in Amsterdam. The idea was born from a need to celebrate in the true Borkowski style. The proud tradition of Christmas celebrations has been a thing of legend with a host of venues from garages, art galleries to Indian takeaways and seedy eateries.
The legend is that those who claim to be able to remember the party were not present. The detail isn’t important but the fact that there will always be casualties seems to be the important historical constant for the organisation.
The gory minutiae will never be a matter of public record but somebody counted them out and I assume counted them back in! It seems thatt we now hold the record at the Supper Club for the biggest bar bill.
I was in Amsterdam for various new business meetings but perhaps more significantly on a pilgrimage to the creative shrines that cluster in this ingenious village. Invited many moons ago to mentor an artist finishing his course at Das Art
This extraordinary finishing school for global artists to realise their visions was an idea inspired by Ritsaert ten Cate. Check his website
The DasArts Foundation (Advanced Studies in the Performing Arts) was created in 1994 under the aegis of Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and operates in association with the Amsterdam School of the Arts.
Approximately 25 artists from different artistic backgrounds study at DasArts. It does not have a fixed curriculum. Each semester, one or two mentors curate a so-called Block: a programme centred around one theme to be explored in depth by the participants.. Each Block is unique and relates art practice to current developments in society.
About seven years ago, I was asked by Ritseart to mentor Duro Toomato a visual artist film maker and performer, who at the time was creating a movie called Camel Bollocks the world’s shortest and most interesting film. We have kept in contact ever since and every time I pop over to Holland I spend time with this cultural life-force. Currently he is developing a children’s book, “Bear The Warlord And Evil Birds”, the story is illustrated by Martin Hrdina…..
“It was a spring Sunday afternoon. PD Bear was happily walking among the flowers and trees and bees. He was looking for a honey pot. There is no such a thing as a honey pot in Lap2pland, but somewhere in PD Bear′s memory this bear activity was programmed long time ago, so he repeats the command as part of his daily work”.
More on our encounter later, but various mad plots were hatched. After being reprogrammed by Duro, I cycled over to visit the Ritseart in his new studio. He pursued a career as a visual artist late in life, first on a one year grant to PS1/MoMA New York, then two years as a student of the Rijksakademie Amsterdam, but he balks at calling himself a full time artist.
Recently he has taken over a shop to work in and allow the odd visitor to wander around his extraordinary cannon. I marvelled at his stuff and contemplated his wisdom which re boots my journey as a publicist. One of his sayings remains very important to me. “Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail.”
Ritseart created one of the power houses of performance, the Mickery-theater established in 1965 in his farmhouse in Loenersloot, a village near to Amsterdam. The Mickery-theater staged some of the most crucial experimental work of the last forty years. A theatre for the avant-garde of the world over 800 productions, presented, co-produced or produced, from Stockholm to Tokyo, New York to Belgrade, Moscow to Reykjavik. Visiting my old friend and walking through his Gallery invigorates my belief in constant change.