SMART Project Space living up to expectations

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A new multifunctional cultural space in Amsterdam’s Old West takes off as the Amsterdam art community turns up en masse Saturday night.

Opening Coalesce: Happenstance  “The opening on Saturday night (10 January) was astonishingly full,” says Irmin van der Meijden, who works at the new cultural centre. “The café/restaurant is getting busier, it’s really becoming a place to socialise and network.”

If the turn out at the opening this early January was a sign of where SMART Project Space is going in 2009, then the outlook is good.

People must be getting the feeling expressed by SMART Project Space Foundation member Lawrence Dubrovich shortly after the centre’s launch at the end of last year. “Places to experience vibrant art are so rare in Amsterdam that it's a great feeling to walk in and have this sweeping feeling, 'this is really the place...."

Opening Coalesce: Happenstance Coalesce: Happenstance
The current exhibition Coalesce: Happenstance is a cooperative project in which 35 international artists share six gallery spaces. It is the last part of the project Coalesce which has been running internationally for six years in which the artists playfully interact with the space and the other artists.
“The artists are free to let the work overlap and take one another over,” says Irmin van der Meijden.  “An extreme example is the artist Garrett Phelan who ordered the SPS staff to rent a paint-gun. He then appeared at the last build-up day to shoot out wads of black paint over the works of other artists in two spaces, including the gallery windows. The exhibition is a colourful installation which highlights the joyful side of art.”

The spacious and revamped building, formerly a pathologic anatomy laboratory built in the 1930's, has six gallery spaces and two cinemas, one of which doubles up as an auditorium for sound, or theatre. An additional room, the former chapel where the souls of dead bodies took formal leave for the spirit world after serving their purposes for the furthering of science, is now the music room, expressing spirit through beats and rhythms of another kind. The cafe-restaurant is aptly named Lab III.

 At the opening of exhibition on Saturday 10 January, musicians let rip with an Eastern-European flavour in the foyer.


 January 10 opening: Don't let the cold stop you venturing out, wear a hat .. and experiment with others (see Lab III in the background.)


Spot the difference


Spot the difference


The cinemas screen two films nightly -- Art house and music and subculture films, perhaps with some low-end blockbusters in the not too distant future.

The centre focuses on local and international artists and runs projects which bring together both established and younger artists. The building hosts six art studios.

Coalesce: Happenstance is open every day from 12.00 - 22.00 hrs and Sunday14.00 - 22.00 hrs.  The exhibition runs until 22 February 2009.

Coming up

Highlight of the cinema offerings this week (Thursday 15 January at 20:15) is the premiere of In Search of Midnight Kiss–a tender, realistic tale of love, sex and modern romance by Alex Holdridge. 


In February expect a full operational sound programme. DNK Amsterdam invites a new alternative artist to perform every Monday night as part of their concert series for new live electronic and acoustic music.


For the full programme, visit

Smart Project Space
Arie Biemondstraat 105-113, Amsterdam


Text , images, video: Natasha Gunn

Arriving for the expo

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