18 episodes

Art and design, from the Netherlands. 'Dutch Art & Design Today' is a podcast hosted by John Bezold, which explores these two worlds and those working within them. From publishers and artists, to designers and curators, painters and podcasters; this podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of their work, to find out why Dutch art and design is so highly regarded across cultures, and time.

Dutch Art & Design Today John Bezold

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Art and design, from the Netherlands. 'Dutch Art & Design Today' is a podcast hosted by John Bezold, which explores these two worlds and those working within them. From publishers and artists, to designers and curators, painters and podcasters; this podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of their work, to find out why Dutch art and design is so highly regarded across cultures, and time.

    Erica Obersi

    Erica Obersi

    ‘We are a very vibrant country; Curaçao. But we are so much more than these cliches that pervade in mainstream thought about the Caribbean. There’s real struggles here. Real injustice and economic disparity. And it has to do with our past. But a lot of progress has been made… My art seeks to show the average Curaçaoan; the fisherman at Playa Piskadó; Carnival; Tumba performers, who have their roots in African dance. The colonial past really does still impact us, daily. And so my work in AI tries to highlight those here who are—regular.' 

    —Erica Obersi

    For the seventeenth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Erica Obersi—a Curaçao-based artist renowned for her AI creations. Our paths first intersected in the vibrant web3 sphere, particularly within the close-knit Tezos blockchain community, a platform where Erica frequently showcases her art. Raised in Curaçao, Erica has always been keenly aware of the world beyond her country's borders. Her work in the tech realm led her to spend several years in New York City, working in the city's tech industry. This period also saw her studying for and obtaining a BA in International Relations from George Washington University, in Washington D.C.. Later, Erica returned to Curacao, and more recently enrolled to study at Tilburg University for her law degree. Erica's work with AI represents a fusion of her diverse interests, ranging from the spiritual—like the power of holy scriptures—to futuristic fashion and tributes to Swedish artist Hilma Af Klint (1862-1944). Her prominence in digital art and NFTs, particularly in the Dutch Caribbean, marks her as a pioneer in the field and one of the few digital artists in the region to gain international acclaim. In early 2023, Erica's talent was further recognized when she joined SuperRare, a leading digital art marketplace and auction house.

    In this hour-long conversation, Erica recounts her memories of visiting Amsterdam during her childhood and visiting the Rijksmuseum with her grandmother and grandfather, and how she was taken aback by coming face-to-face with Rembrandt’s Nightwatch. She then goes on the describe the culture and the international outlook of its people, to the world at large, while also discussing what the county's museum and cutural scenes entail, before spending time discussing the legacies Dutch colonialism brought to the island, both in the past and today. While her early work explored themes related to the people, culture, landscapes, and history of Curaçao; her more recent work incorporates themes of divinity-inspired digital fashion, ideals concerning social hierarchy, excess wealth, and how the latter can lead to envy and intrigue. To conclude, Erica talks about the importance of integrity in her work and beyond her art, such as why she finds it important, as an artist, to use her platform for good. 

    You can learn more about Erica and her work over on X @madeincuracao and on Instagram @ericaoverseas.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Steven Nadler

    Steven Nadler

    'Spinoza is a great portal to the Dutch Republic; because with Spinoza you have to look at Jewish Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. And if you start looking at Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, you’re drawn to the art. If you’re drawn to the art you become aware of the social and economic context. It’s really like looking through the looking glass. Once you’re in, you’re in.’

    —Steven Nadler

    For the sixteenth episode of Dutch Art & Design Today, I sat down with Steven Nadler, who is a philosopher, a historian of philosophy, an all-around interesting academic, as well as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he is also the Director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities. Steven completed his BA at Washington University in St. Louis, and then returned to his hometown of Manhattan to complete his MA and PhD at Columbia University, where he wrote his dissertation on the French philosopher Antoine Arnauld. Steven has studied and written extensively on the history of philosophy in Early Modern Europe, particularly concerning Descartes and Spinoza. Over the years, a through line in his teaching and writing has been the seventeenth century as it relates to the Dutch Republic; for instance, concerning the stay of Descartes in the republic, and his interactions with politicians, thinkers, and artists, such as the painter Frans Hals. Steven also has an interest in the Jewish population of Amsterdam during the same time period, and in 2003, published a book titled Rembrandt's Jews, for which he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

    In this hour-long discussion, Steven and I first revisit his move to the Midwest for his undergraduate degree, and then his return to New York City for his graduate and doctoral degrees, and what his student days were like in both locations. We then move on to talk about how his dissertation lead him to study Descartes, and the seventeenth century in general, and why he finds the era so fascinating from a philosophical point of view, and what was happening in Amsterdam and Haarlem, during this period of time. Steven then explains the methodologies that he uses to approach his work, and how they allow him to combine several figures and topics that interest him, in a way that makes his work accessible beyond those only interested in philosophy. We then zoom in on his books on Frans Hals, and how he used a well-known trove of archival documents, to wrap the biography of Hals around some of his more celebrated paintings, to write the first biographical study of Hals in Haarlem. To conclude, Steven explains how philosophy is useful to the world today, and how knowing it results in better choices, better ways of thinking which together leads to, as he puts it, "better living through philosophy".'

    You can learn more about Steven and his work and books, over on his ⁠website⁠.

    You can also find out more about Steven's teaching on his university's website.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Sven Kroner

    Sven Kroner

    'Back in 2006, or 2007, I painted a kind of a landscape, in a very liquid way; sometimes abstract and sometimes realistic. But I would always add details, like a cow in the foreground watching its shed or hut, standing in a puddle of water. And the cow, in that work, is standing on the hill. But can't go back to the hut... And what I like about that painting, is that there are different levels to it. A daily life scene; a cow watching the effects of global warming. But on another level, maybe I'm the cow, doubting the painted landscape I made. So, there's an irony in my work... It's a mix of abstraction and figuration, and philosophy.'

    –Sven Kroner

    For the fifteenth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Sven Kroner, a Düsseldorf-based painter whose works on large-scale canvases making use of acrylics, are simultaneously familiar yet otherworldly, while also being utterly entrancing. Sven was born in Kaufbeuren, then in West Germany, in 1973, surrounded by the verdant landscapes of the Northern Alps, aligning the Austrian and Swiss borders. He describes the nature in this part of Germany as being, 'like a fairytale', and where he spent time with his friends during his youth—as they all dreamed of moving away from their small town, to bigger cities. Not necessarily from an artistic lineage of painters, he came to art of his own volition, after museum visits as a child, taking an interest in contemporary German artists, as well as some of his own experiments using aquarelles and oil paint. Sven then studied painting, at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, from 1994-2000; a city he had never visited before his acceptance there; though it is also where he has lived, and worked, ever since.

    In this hour-long conversation, Sven and I discuss his childhood spent in southern Germany, and how the landscapes that surrounded him there in the area, influenced how these landscapes returned as a subject, within his work. Sven talks about his time at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf; why he chose to study there; and what he did while there; before zooming in on his mentor at the academy, Dieter Krieg (1937-2005), explaining what he absorbed from him, that he still makes use of, today. Sven is known for paintings that, put simply, create worlds within worlds. He makes use of acrylic paints—a medium he once referred to as nearly being, 'plastic'. It is rare to find an artist of his statue using acrylics instead of oils, and so we also discuss his technique; how he uses the medium to create his work; and how the medium differs from oils. Lastly, we discuss his exhibition titled 'Atmosphere', at Gallery Fons Welters in Amsterdam, from 8 September-14 October 2023, and how his more recent work involves the themes of domesticity, and the Anthropocene.

    You can learn more about Sven and his paintings, and books, over on his website.

    You can read about Sven's exhibition 'Atmosphere', on Gallery Fons Welter's website.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

    Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

    'Habsburgs loved their animals. As we do today. They're no different than us. They went to great lengths, to get their horses, dogs, cheetahs, their elephants... and that's always fun. I want to make history fun, inspiring, and alive. It doesn't have to just be wars and politics. These people had lives. They had their loves; and their children. So how can we make that, and their documents, interesting? We need history; as much as we want to be always grounded in the future, flying off into space; I think we need to understand the past, to look at the present. At least that's been my philosophy.'

    –Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

    For the fourteenth episode of 'Dutch Art & Design Today', I sat down with Annemarie Jordan Gschwend; a specialist in the Habsburg dynasty, the history of their art and art collections, and a pioneer in studying Habsburg women. Annemarie studied at George Washington University in D.C., where she completed her BA in art history and French, and her MA in art history, focusing on Portuguese royal history. She then wrote her dissertation at Brown University, on the collection of Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal. During the 1970s she studied in France, and in the 1980s while a student, received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Lisbon, where she undertook archival research and deepened her interest in the history of the Habsburgs. Annemarie completed her dissertation in Switzerland, where she has been based since rthe 1980s, and has since gone on to curate and contribute to numerous exhibits and their catalogues, and her vast depth of knowledge in hers fields, is truly astonishing.

    In this detailed talk, Annemarie retraces her childhood and how her parents emigrated to the USA from Europe—and revisits her memories of being a child going up in San Francisco. Her parents spoke numerous languages at home, exposing her to the world beyond English, and her mom encouraged her interests in European history, languages, and the arts. Annemarie then explains why she chose to study art history, and then discusses some of her experiences living in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s; what conducting research was like during this time; and then reflects on the differences between conducting research then, compared to today. Annemarie introduces the Habsburgs in detail, and paints a picture of their history, from its thirteenth-century origin to its demise in the early-twentieth century. To conclude, she ponders why she so enjoys researching the Habsburg women, and then notes the importance of publishing engaging new research, to further inspire future historians.

    Learn more about the exhibitions 'Women—The Art of Power' and 'Renaissance Lisbon', co-curated by Annemarie, and discussed in the episode.

    Watch an hour-long film made for Portuguese television (with English subtitles) about the Lisbon exhibition featuring Annemarie.

    You can learn more about Annemarie and her work on her website.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 44 min
    Jane Turner

    Jane Turner

    'What's left to do? To keep people interested in old art. To make that art interesting and relevant. Perhaps relevant isn’t the right word… But if you look at the art market; the biggest money, right now, is in modern and contemporary art. You see it in auction houses, too. The content of the sales is different than it was 20 years ago. Old Masters remain a challenge. But then, you'll get a Vermeer exhibition, like at the Rijksmuseum—where the tickets sell out on the second day. And so I’m optimistic about the future, when it comes to the Old Masters.'

    —Jane Turner

    For the thirteenth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Jane Turner; an editor, scholar, specialist in Dutch and Flemish Old Master drawings and prints, the former Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and has been the Editor in Chief of journal Master Drawings—covering Old Master drawings—since 2004. Jane studied art history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and quickly found her way to working at the college's art museum. She studied in Paris for a year while at Smith, refining her eye and interests in Old Master art; and after graduation, decided to move to Manhattan, where she worked at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Morgan Library, where she began specializing in Netherlandish drawings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During her museum days in New York, she became known for compiling catalouges of collections, imbuing her with editorial expertise, particularly concerning hefty tomes. In the late-1980s Jane moved to London, where she worked for over a decade on the 36-volume Dictionary of Art; a powerhouse of a print publication, the likes of which will never be produced again, and which itself, was progressive in its approach to global art. In 2011 Jane was appointed Head of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum, retiring from it in 2020. Through her work, Jane's become a globally renowned museum scholar and connoisseur of Netherlandish drawings.

    In this meanderingly playful talk, Jane and I discuss the course of her career and trace its origins from her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio—where I was, coincidentally, also born; to her youth spent in Cleveland, and what life was like in terms of her early-exposure to museums and modern art; and then move on to discuss some of the ideas and subjects she was interested in as a student. Jane spends a large portion of our conversation underlying the importance of mentorship within her work and discusses some of the programs and initiatives she has put in place, which advocate for the advancement of young scholars of drawings and prints. While at the Rijksmuseum, Jane was responsible for leading numerous digital catalogue projects that made the print room's drawings digitally accessible, with full descriptions, technical research and provenance information. She also was responsible for innovative exhibitions put on by the print room, including one titled 'XXL', which featured eccentric, huge works on paper, and another titled 'Frans Post. Animals in Brazil', which saw plush insects 'overtake' the museum. Lastly, Jane ponders what the future holds for Old Master drawings and museums—and indeed, is hopeful for both. 

    You can learn more about the Rijksmuseum's Print Room over on their website.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Francien Krieg

    Francien Krieg

    'I understand the anger from a lot of people around AI. I had the same. The first time I saw AI, it made me very angry—at the whole development. I thought: what is this? But I also thought: how can I have such a strong opinion about AI, if I don't know what it, is? So I decided to dig into it and explore it. That's the only way to know what you're talking about... Before my work in AI, I was always making my own photos of models and I always stuck very close to the reference. But with AI, I feel like I'm sketching. I can explore more things in a much shorter time; at a much faster pace, than having to depend on photos from models... AI challenges me. And I'm thankful for all the inspiration it's giving me.'

    —Francien Krieg

    For the twelfth episode of ‘Dutch Art & Design Today’, I sat down with Francien Krieg, a Dutch painter whose work in portraiture explores the process of aging in relation to the human body. Francien studied monumental design at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and then painting at the Vrije Academy, also in The Hague, graduating in 2003. During her studies, she was intensely preoccupied with the theme of the passing of time and devoted much of her work as a student to exploring the subject. Time has become a central theme of Francien's work, and she is today best known for her large-scale oil paintings, whose main subjects are often older women. The perspectival approach that Francien uses to frame her subjects often results in an exaggeration of scale; such as by zooming-in on a subject's face, so that it alone occupies the canvas; or by having the viewer look 'up', or 'down', toward the painted subject's body. Working out of her home studio—where this episode was recorded—Francien carefully poses and composes her sitters, after inviting them into her studio, photographing them many times, before then creating a composition for a painting. However, in addition to her portraiture in oil paints, Francien also creates works with AI.

    In this hour-and-half-long talk that begins with Francien's memories of her father—we discuss how she came to be exploring the subject of time in her work, which directly relates to her father's fascination with death. We then move on to discuss how her student years were instrumental in finding the method and approach to her process. For an artist preoccupied with the passing of time, and portraying the aging process in her work; the pandemic had an outsized effect on her process, and Francien relays how she made use of prolonged periods of isolation in 2020 and 2021, in relation to her painting practice. The last part of our talk is focused on Francien's work using AI—Stable Diffusion and Midjourney—and she explains how the process of working in AI, has inversely affected her work in oils. When it comes to distributing her AI work, Francien makes use of the Tezos blockchain, where her work has been enthusiastically embraced by art collectors. To conclude, Francien explains her choice of portraying subjects in the nude, and how her work refashions outdated ideals around, 'growing old.'

    You can find Francien and her work on her website, X, and Instagram.

    You can find John on X @johnbezold and at his website johnbezold.com.

    'Dutch Art & Design Today' is published by Semicolon-Press.

    • 1 hr 37 min

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