The Amsterdam Adventure: Part 2 – Art Rap

Day One, Continued!

So I leave the Diamond Museum, taking a moment in a cafe to warm up a bit, before crossing the street to go to the Moco Museum. I saw a sign for it just walking around that day and bought my ticket while inside the Diamond Museum so I could beat the crowd.

Musuemplein is the square where several museums are, including the Diamond and Van Gogh museums. You can’t miss them!

The Moco Museum

The Moco is a museum in a small converted house, art covers all the walls.

Sculptures are around the building within the gates. They look… interesting. Surprising to say the least.

The crowd was thick too.

It turns out that the museum was having a Roy Lichtenstein as well as a Banksy exhibit. Banksy is a mysterious graffiti artist who makes political art. While he mostly tags buildings and fences, he also made paintings on canvas, which was the focus of his exhibit. Growing up, I thought I really enjoyed the art of Banksy, but I’m starting to think… I’m starting to think he’s an artist who thinks he cleverer than he is.


Ooooh, a critque on the industry of selling art, how meta and hardcore!



Graffitti artist are already a bit narcissitic. Defacing property that isn’t yours requires a lot of self-absorption, “This thing that doesn’t belong to me will be better when I draw on it,” in a way. So that, plus the obvious symbolism in his work (“Ooooh, a little girl holding a nuclear bombbbbb, oooh, police officers frolicking, oooh, a man throwing flowers instead of a molotov cocktaillllll“) made me really bored.

Oooh, a statue with a face blurred!

I really came for Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein’s art is mostly known for taking the art of retro comic books and updating them, exaggerating their style and applying it to a variety of mediums. His exhibit demonstrated that not only was his pop art expressive and fun, he also applied it to landscapes on a variety of materials, still life portraits of tables and houses, and he played with abstract art inspired by Picasso.

The Picasso era. Lichtenstein admits to being inspired by Picasso, but he bet that every artist was.


“Diamonds! How many times did I tell him diamonds?!”

My favorites of his were his still-lifes. Who knew sandwiches could look so… interesting.  

The final exhibits were Lichtenstein rooms, one of which was built to mimic Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles.”

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles,” a painting of his own bedroom in France.

Lichtenstein painted his own version

and a recreation of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Bedroom at Arles,” an updated version (complete with a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh), is on display in the museum.

[videopress iPu8GYom]

It’s about now that I realize that I desperately want a photo of myself in this room. But I don’t know how to ask.  I try to take a selfie…. but it doesn’t capture everything.

I watch people enter and exit closely. I take a moment to collect myself in a nearby gift shop, walk around a bit, then come back to this room. I see another black girl taking photos. I look her over… looking for any signs of “I speak English. No, I won’t bite.”

“Excuse me…. excuse me, hi? Um, do you mind taking a photo of me in here?”

“Oh, no problem, sure!”

I move throughout the room looking for a place to pose. I decide against sitting on the bed with some help and take a seat in one of the chairs, the resulting photo you can see up top.

I thank the girl, and she leaves. I don’t know, but I was expecting a little bit of conversation maybe?

It was around then that I started to feel a tad lonely. Travelling alone is fulfilling, but it also made me feel a tad isolated. I may have been thinking too much of it, so I shake the feeling away.

I leave the Moco Museum having got what I wanted, a good time and a photo to prove it.

I call it a day, and start my walk back to my hostel. Freezing though, I take dip into a cafe, Back to Black (Coffee), for some tea. I ask the barista what the best dessert they have is, and a couple sitting at a nearby table says, “APPLE PIE!” So I buy a slice of apple pie, and some chai tea.

While sitting in this cafe, I call my mom and grandmother and update them on my trip. I feel warm hearing from them, and literally warm sipping my tea and eating the really delicious but really sweet pie, away from the freezing temperatures outside. I remind myself that not only am I here alone, but I’m okay. You never walk through this world alone. It’s important not to forget that.

I find myself really excited for the next days ahead. I can do this, I tell myself, I’ll be fine, and it’ll be fun.

Later that Night: The Aminé Concert

Later that night, I order a cab and head to the Melkweg. The Melkweg (Milky Way in Dutch) is a club in Amsterdam that plays hip hop on Saturdays, and Encore, the club next to it would be hosting the concert. I get in line, walking farrrrr back to the end of it. I hear people talking about the show in English, so I assume there were lots of English speakers mixed into the crowd, but that’s not saying much because English is widely spoken in Holland in general.

Like I said in a previous post, Aminé is an American rapper I’ve been following for a minute. I had bought a ticket for his Baltimore show when I was back home but it was cancelled, so when I got to Spain and saw that he would be touring Europe, I thought it would be a great idea to make a whole adventure out of seeing the concert.

Anyway, I get in the club and go to check my coat, spotting the merchandise booth being manned by one of Aminé’s friends. I buy a hoodie that I made lots of use out of in the upcoming days.

There are a few alternating DJs warming up the crowd, with one of them, “DJ Wax Fiend” playing some of my favorite songs, including Bahamadia’s “UKNOWHOWWEDO”

The opening act was a Dutch rapper named, “Jay Way,” he performed songs in Dutch and English. The crowd was hype, it was fun.

Aminé was… disappointing I’m sad to say! His set was maybe a half-hour long? Which was super unexpected because the sets he’s performed elsewhere were longer.

[videopress VbHMOnyj]

He mostly performed his singles, and when he left the stage everyone was a little confused. I stayed a while after, hoping for some sort of encore, but no! I had fun, but it was a shame it didn’t last too long. I was just getting started! A DJ resumed playing, so I eventually made my way toward the exit.

Before I go to bed, I make a date with a boat and an artist. More on that later!



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