Sneak Peek: Bali in Amsterdam

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.


Curator Natasha Reichle and Senior Registrar Sharon Steckline measure objects for the exhibition Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance.

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.


Natasha and objects conservator Mark Fenn carefully assess the condition of each object.

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.

11 Responses to “Sneak Peek: Bali in Amsterdam”

  1. tuscanycat  on November 19th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Love Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general. Aside from the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, I like to visit the Stedelijk which is mostly contemporary art. There’s also the Royal Delft Porcelain Factory, in Delft, which makes the famous blue ware.

  2. erica  on November 19th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    What’s that beautiful textile in the last picture? I like it! Hope you’re having lots of waffles and shopping at the markets – Amsterdam has the best markets. If it’s cold or rainy I like De Looier, otherwise the street markets are my favorite.

  3. nico  on November 19th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I hope they’ve gotten some more work done on the Rijksmuseum–such a small part of the collection was on view that I was only there for a couple hours instead of the usual five or six.

    Thank you for that first photo: oh how I miss the oude kaas…
    And watch out for the texting cyclists!

  4. Sharon  on November 19th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    That textile is even more amzing in person and belongs to the Tropenmuseum. Unfortunately, the Stedelijk has been closed for quite awhile for remodeling – they hope to open next year again. The Rijksmuseum is not schedled to reopen until 2013 – but I enjoyed the small bit that is open very much, unfortunately 20 of their 4 Vermeers were off at the Met for their exhibition. Yes, the cyclists on cell phones – crazy.

  5. bittermelon  on November 20th, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Love it. Thanks for sharing! BTW the gratuitous cheese shot is awesome

  6. edeb  on November 20th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    What a great post. I have been thinking of you three a lot as we have been having very exciting meetings on this end thinking about programming. The Bali exhibition will have an extraordinary amount of programs highlighting ritual and performing artists living in the Bay Area and many coming from Bali.

  7. gustibali  on November 20th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I’m glad to know that you are planning an exhibition of Balinese art in US… I’m proud to be a Balinese…

  8. nico  on November 21st, 2009 at 11:08 am

    first-ever major exhibition on Bali in the U.S. does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I’m pretty excited. We look forward to seeing you!

  9. nico  on November 21st, 2009 at 11:10 am

    gratuitous reminds me of grate, which is what I want to do to all that cheese. fondue, please.

  10. » 1616: The plan  on August 11th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    […] The publisher accepted the book on the basis of the preface, prologue, first two chapters, and a part of the third. That means I still have about 5/8ths or more of the book still to write. Above is the table of contents spread as it stands now. The trim size, which I suggested, is 7.25 x 10 inches. I didn’t want it to be so big that it seemed like an art book, but I wanted it to be bigger than the standard significant trade title, which is often around 6 x 9 or 6.25 x 9.25. There are a lot of images in my book, and a lot of material in the form of sidenotes (a favorite element, which I am also using extensively in the Bali catalogue I’m currently designing for the Asian Art Museum). […]

  11. Wendy  on April 7th, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Having been to Bali and speaking to the museum there I cannot understand why these stolen artefacts are not returned to Bali where they belong. Holland has no right to heritage stolen during their occupation of Bali.

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