When people often talk about street art, their first thoughts go to graffiti. While graffiti is a section of what we call street art, urban art or public art, the genre is so broad in its spectrum that it’s difficult to decide what has value as art in urban street settings! Street art is one of the biggest contributing factors into what makes a city interesting to visitors, so we decided to take some of our Spotter’s favorite pieces to write about! In random order:
Make It Happen
Rotterdam is known as a city where people can go out and make something of themselves, and what better way to showcase this but through the city’s own motto! Make it Happen is a large-scale public art project that encourages artists to create street art that the public can interact with while spreading the city motto, according to our Spotter Anne-Marie. Whether it’s climbing, sitting, running or jumping, these pieces offer a unique experience when viewed and interacted with!
De Verwoeste Stad
“A sculpture that gives me goosebumps every time I see it”, says Spotter Davy in regards to the large bronze sculpture De Verwoeste Stad (The Destroyed City). This sculpture of a man without a heart was created by Ossip Zadkine in 1953 in commemoration of the 1940’s Rotterdam city center bombing during World War 2. Truly chilling, the twisted up man seems to be in complete agony, standing frozen in time with his arms above his head, head lifted up to the sky in horror.
Located in Rotterdam’s Crooswijk, the Mural Koninginnekerk (Queen’s church) is a relatively unknown art piece that merges together the history of the Jugendstil church and the Hoppensteyn nursing home. The mural was spotted by local Anne-Marie and depicts an image of the old Jugendstil church before it was demolished to make room for the new nursing home. The large green towers of the church were rebuilt as part of the Hoppensteyn nursing home in 2001 to pay homage to the location and the history of Crooswijk.
Hidden during daylight, Rotte-Dam is a large-scale LED art piece that stretches through the Wijnhaven tunnel. This piece is surprisingly whimsical in nature, with the LED lighting and the root imagery (actually spelling out ROTTE-DAM) merging with each other to give this ordinary place a magical atmosphere, according to Spotter Anne-Marie. The roots of the art piece are meant to represent the beginning of the city, as the spot is also the location where Rotterdam as a city was first conceived along the banks of the Rotte.
“He who travels a lot will experience that he could have truly appreciated the people he had seen in his own street.” are the wise words that greeted Spotter José one day. Local Inspiration is a large word-based piece of street art that serves the public some well-meaning advice from the North, a quote by famous Dutch writer Godfried Bomans.
Hit the Lights
Hit the Lights is a truly eye-catching piece of street art, being over four stories high and darkly colored, this piece is one of local Davy’s favorites. Created as a collaborative art piece between Sebastian Velasco and Telmo Miel, the dark colors of the piece reflect a mysterious atmosphere, and with the man’s face turned away from the public, it simply adds to the overall mystique that comes through the art.
The Giant of Rotterdam
A life-sized bronze sculpture of the infamous Giant of Rotterdam, Rigardus Rijnhout, stands tall close his old home in the Gouvernestraat, which was later on turned into a music venue (Nighttown) after his death. At 2.37 meters tall, the statue can make anyone feel small when they stand next to it, according to Spotter Anne-Marie, and when you walk through the overly large door that leads into Nighttown, you can only imagine what it must have been like to live side by side with such a giant.
A public art project first initiated by Joe Cillen, MS Noordereiland encompasses the entire island as the art project. The concept, according to Spotter Rénia, was to make the island resemble a ship, so that it seemed as if it was always ready to sail away with its inhabitants at any moment, turning it into an almost living art piece, wherein the public is constantly interacting with the island.
When we think of Willem de Kooning, a Rotterdam born artist, we think of the academy he studied at that was named after him and the abstract expressionist style he used in his paintings, says local Fedde. Seated Woman, or more commonly nicknamed ‘The Turd’, is one of the more abstract public sculptures in Rotterdam and catches the public’s eye through the large black hunk of stone that creates a rather twisted and overall abstract piece.
“Once there was a buzzing Brazilian atmosphere in Rotterdam in August 2009,” mentions Spotter Rénia in regards to the Colorful Murals. These murals are large, Brazilian themed artworks that reside, somewhat hidden, around the city and were created by 10 different Brazillian artists, who collaborated to on merging their art styles together into these large pieces.