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Free time: Space suits

I went to the Stedelijk Museum today. This was the thing I liked:

Luuks Speespakken

Iris de Leeuw of the Luuks Laboratorium (an artists' collective) introduced these "spaze suits" (alternative spelling to reflect a new way of life) in 1967 to encourage creative interaction between people.

If you happen to meet someone wearing different "Luuks trousers"--you can of course swap them (once given, no taking it back)--a great kommunikaasiebezigheden ("communicative activity") in social spaces. -Space suit certificate of authenticity

An overarching idea was that art didn't belong in museums, but should be something to stimulate and activate people's creativity. Thus, clothes for the playing person!

The exhibit showed people exchanging pants in public. As can be seen in the photos from then and now, the zippers were placed close to the crotch and so wearers needed assistance in zipping on and off. This was premeditated to help encourage breaking taboos surrounding touching erogenous zones--an outlandish suggestion when one could not even kiss in public in Maastricht. In sum, the outfits were meant to provoke and stimulate communication between people.

Unfortunately for Luuks (which means the opposite of "luxury"), the spaze suits received negative publicity that restricted their activities and they eventually folded.

The exhibits on Luuks and other counter-culture art activities (a sit-in at the Night Watch gallery to protest cultural imprisonment of artistic expression!) were enriching but the rest of the museum frustrated me. One had to queue up to enter, then queue up to get a ticket, then queue up to stow backpacks, and then queue up again to enter the exhibits. There were no paper guides or maps available in my language and there was very little room signage. I finally found the museum cafe and ordered 45 minutes after my arrival.

My mood was not positive when I finished lunch and began to look in the galleries. I wandered through room after room of blurry photographs that were supposed to be commentary on society due to their blurriness. I sometimes wonder where artist freedom ends and fooling museum-goers begins.


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