Pop Art Meets Street Art at Moco

 

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In a turn-of-the-century villa, Moco presents the “Rock Stars” of contemporary art.

For culture vultures and art aficionados, Amsterdam has a museum for every mood. If you think each one is filled with masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age and iconic sunflowers, you owe yourself a visit to the city’s Modern Contemporary (Moco) Museum. Dedicated to presenting the “Rock Stars” of contemporary art, the new kid on the Museumplein block debuted in April 2016, across from the stately Rijksmuseum and adjacent to the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums.

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A graffiti artist prays at the alter of his work in Banksy’s “Boy Praying.”

Set in the former Villa Alsberg, Moco occupies 13,500 square feet on two floors of what was originally a stately private home—one of the first built on Museumplein. Against a backdrop of stained glass and turn-of-the-century architectural details, the museum targets a young, forward-thinking audience through exhibits of renowned works not usually seen in public exhibitions. Eduard Cuypers, cousin of Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station architect Pierre Cuypers, designed the villa in 1904. It was used as a family residence until 1939 and subsequently rented to priests who taught at Amsterdam’s St. Nicolas School, then to a law firm that used it as office space.

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Edgy art appeals to a young, forward-thinking audience.

Moco is a private initiative of art dealers Lionel and Kim Logchies, owners of Amsterdam’s Lionel Gallery. Named one of Europe’s top 55 galleries by Artnet, the contemporary art gallery in the Spiegel Quarter features the works of such modern art icons as Joan Miro, Henri Matisse, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein and a host of other artists from the underground scene. Common themes include anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-establishment messages.

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Moco founders Lionel + Kim Logchies. Photo credit: Lionel Gallery

This summer, you can step into the worlds of counterculture legends Banksy and Andy Warhol at Moco. On the ground floor, Laugh Nowthe world’s first Banksy exhibit in a museumfeatures some 50 original works by the street art legend, on display through September 2016. The “unauthorized” exhibit of works by a political street artist whose identity is still veiled in mystery includes such masterpieces as Beanfield, a major canvas that reveals Banksy as an activist artist. A colorful montage of rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children and seniors also figures in the exhibit.

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Banksy’s “Beanfield”: anti-establishment in all its flaming glory. Photo credit: http://www.Vogue.nl

Also on display through July 2016 is Royal, an exhibit of some 30 works by pop artist Andy Warhol. Still one of contemporary art’s most influential figures more than 20 years after his death, Warhol is perhaps best known for capturing life’s minute details in all their messy, ordinary glamor in his work. Decades before cell phones and social media had us broadcasting our private lives to the world, Warhol developed a brand based on documenting his daily interactions on audio- and video-tape. Royal includes one of his most famous screen prints of Marilyn Monroe as well as his Campbell’s soup can, on display next to Banksy’s Tesco soup.

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The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix is among the monarchs depicted in Warhol’s “Royals” series. He called her “the most beautiful queen.”

Moco is open daily, 10am—6pm. Admission is €12 for adults, €10 for students. According to an unauthorized inside source, coming attractions include a Salvador Dali exhibit.

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While Banksy is most often thought of as a subversive street artist, his works include satirical statues and canvases meant for indoor display.

 

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