Greetings from the land of cheese and chocolate — Amsterdam. Most of our visitors probably are asking, “Why are staff from the Asian Art Museum in Amsterdam”? Well, I’m here, along with objects conservator Mark Fenn and Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Natasha Reichle, planning for the first ever U.S. exhibition of Balinese art.
The exhibition, Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance, will open at the museum in February 2011. But like many of our exhibitions, years of work are needed to ensure that it is a spectacular success.
Many of the world’s best collections of Balinese artifacts are located in the Netherlands, at such prestigious museums as the Rijksmuseum and the Tropenmuseum, both in Amsterdam. This trip is what we consider to be an early inspection trip — our first chance to see in person many of the objects that Natasha has selected for the exhibition.
Deep in the bowels of Amsterdam’s museums we have been busy measuring, photographing, and studying these objects. By doing so we can evaluate their condition and consider how to best transport them safely to San Francisco, plan for any installation challenges, double-check dimensions and basic cataloging information, and of course get ourselves excited about the show.
We still have many days to go and more collections to visit. But everyone here has been so helpful in allowing us access to their objects, and for ensuring our smooth visit. And for feeding us well. This is definitely one trip worth making, and an exhibition worth waiting for.
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