Dear Diary, I went to an art school exhibition

My old classmates all graduated this year from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. I didn’t. A serious case of an art school dropout. But hey, I work for a magazine now. Being a good guy, I obviously needed to visit the exhibition in which all the graduates from the whole academy show their final works. Their masterpieces. Their most important artwork so far. Their characters, personalities. Their visions and what they stand for in life, that they tried to find out in the last four, five, maybe even six years. All individuals, piled up together in the classrooms of two big buildings that together make the university of art en design.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy

I hate it.


Although I sometimes profile myself as being an artist, I completely dislike watching exhibitions. Especially when it’s a crowd of people that have nothing to do with each other except being present in the same room. I like watching art that I like – obviously. But finding that between the gazillions of works that I Do. Not. Like. At. All. is getting pretty damn boring. BUT. That doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a graduation show. Because I did. I enjoyed it very much.


On the top floor, I immediately found my lovely dear graduated friend Kelly and her amazing boyfriend Morgan, an Australian who lives and works in Amsterdam. Another fantastic friend, Mylou, was laying on the floor getting her graduation movie back on track. By the look of her you could tell she was tired as a teaspoon. Graduating is an intense and stressful happening (probably why people don’t do it, like, all the time) and mr. Sandman was knocking on her eyelids. So she went home to sleep, and Kelly, Morgan and I went downstairs. It was bloody hot and in front of the entrance there were these picnic benches filled with beer. Well, they weren’t actually beer-filled by itself, but we made it happen.

Kelly Morgan Me

Together with my two friends who came along (Jolanda and Willemijn –who also used to study at the Rietveld-) ,Kelly and Morgan we took place in the center of the Piazza di Rietveld. During the first beer, sounds of screaming and moaning men starting to come from inside. Contrary to what I expected (hihi), there were three men on a knitted carpet wrestling. The real American-typed show-wrestling. Morgan even seemed to know what they were doing, as he was screaming ‘DO THE CLAW’ for five minutes straight.


wrestlers and knitted carpets

Someone told me that the artwork was about movement, and that the artists made the carpet especially for a performance with wrestlers to show movement. Also he told us that it wasn’t the United States that invented this type of wrestling, but that they used to do it in Belgium during carnivals. I don’t know if that someone was telling the truth, but it was actually quite nice and interesting to look at.

By the second beer a man dressed as a baby showed up and started watching the wrestling-match as well. I know this wasn’t part of an performance, because the Babyman as we call him for the logical reasons shows up to every Rietveld-event. In the same style. And, as a lovely girl told me, he also shows up like that at supermarkets, libraries and restaurants. Whatever makes him happy.

famous babyman


At this time, Morgan got some tea with vodka from Polish people. I truly like vodka a lot and I have never liked it mixed with something else (vodka should be pure and definitely not with ice let’s all keep that in mind for the rest of your lives please), but this was an amazing drink and I feel so sad for myself that I could not find the Polish people to tell me how to make that beverage from heaven.  Much time searching them wasn’t there also, as our nice little picnic-bench-area was taken over by approximately six or seven people doing performances with hair.

One girl started putting hair in her mouth and pulling it out again, while a man with a beard was dancing with hair extensions growing from his wrists. A small man was dragging two models with long blonde hair all around the area, and Morgan got to walk a dog who was also actually a man with a leash made out of, yes, hair.

girl eating hair


After these wonderfull happenings, Jolanda and I were completely eager to see the rest of the exhibition, ofcourse. What we didn’t realise was that it already was 8:30 pm and the speakers of the school blurred: “Ladies and gentleman, we are closing the school for today. Please all exit the building”.  The few performances that we have seen was for us the whole exhibition.

Thankfully the Rietveld probably expected lazy ass people as us all the time, so they made a video of the whole exhibition. Please pay attention because this goes faster as the marriage between Britney and Jason Allen Alexander.

If this triggers your interests and you want to see the full show, you have to hurry! It will be there for just two more days before it closes. You can visit the Rietveldacademy on the Fred. Roeskestraat in Amsterdam from 11 am untill 8 pm every day. Untill it closes. Obviously.

Niels F. Rodenburg