On Tuesday November 23, we hopped on the train to Amsterdam to revisit the Stedelijk Museum, temporarily reopened in its old building after renovation. Most of the rooms in the museum are empty, waiting for their occupants to emerge from storage. In the meantime, the visitor gets to wander through the empty rooms, playing hide and seek with site-specific installations for Taking Place. In one room, attendants measure the height of each visitor, marking it in black on the wall, creating a thick black band of marks at average height with a few tall people and a few short people deviating from the average (Measuring the Universe). Elsewhere, rotating mirrored slats have been installed in a window, mixing reflections of the street outside with the empty space inside (Daytime). In another room, there is an audio installation of squawks and chirps, resembling bird calls, except, if you listen carefully, it is the artist calling out the names of famous male artists (Birdcalls).
After the long, slow wander through the galleries, empty and otherwise, the coffee shop beckoned with cakes and refreshments and a place to rest both body and mind. A sharp shriek from the young woman behind the cake counter disturbed the peace. Excited gesturing and whispering alerted us to a mouse in the works… Attracted by those birdcalls perhaps?