Gone Missing: Bas Jan Ader

I had never heard of Bas Jan Ader, the Netherlands artist (1942-1975), until I saw Rene Daalder’s fascinating documentary, Here is Always Somewhere Else (2007). Even though Ader has attained a huge – and still growing – cult following since the early 1990s when his work began to enjoy a major reappraisal in art circles, one has to wonder if the rising popularity of his work as a conceptual/performance artist, photographer and filmmaker is partly due to his mysterious disappearance and not necessarily his surviving accomplishments. To die for your art is one thing but to vanish without a trace while you are beginning to receive critical and public recognition almost guarantees than an artist who is young, handsome and enigmatic will achieve some degree of deification. Continue reading

EYE – Film Archive of the Future

On a recent November trip to Amsterdam with my wife, we had no set agenda other than pure pleasure – to soak in the culture, see the city sights and various art museums, tour the canals and neighborhoods, sample the great beers, and occasionally retreat from the constant onslaught of bicycles into some cosy cafe or coffeeshop. (A word of warning to first time visitors to Amsterdam: bicyclists have the right of way over pedestrians and their own designated lanes everywhere. If you don’t look carefully both ways before stepping across a bike lane, you could get creamed by someone going 30 miles an hour or more. The trams (streetcars) can be just as deadly if you aren’t paying close attention to the street traffic.)      Continue reading