The Van Gogh as Nail Salon
In Curiosities, Ben Davis comments on “the art news of the week, sometimes about stories that were too small or strange to make the cut . . .” On reading his latest column, I just discovered and regret that we all somehow missed out on a most excellent and rare opportunity.
In one of those instances of inconsistent Covid restrictions, museums in the Netherlands had been shut down to protect the public from exposure to the virus, but nail salons, barbershops, and gyms were permitted to reopen. On January 19, to affirm the importance of art and to protest the unequal treatment, dozens of Dutch museums defiantly opened for a single day by turning themselves into . . . yes, nail salons, barbershops and gyms.
According to the article, establishments for sex workers were also permitted to open, but “no museums reinvented themselves as brothels.” Classical musicians at one concert venue who were permitted to rehearse but not perform in public decided to participate in the protest by practicing as the haircutting episodes went on around them.
Noting that on normal days a visitor to a crowded museum is likely to find it difficult to view the art through the profusion of tourist heads, Davis wonders if the museum-as-personal-grooming-space could continue. “ . . . The idea of getting your own time slot to sit with Wheatfield with Crows or Girl With the Pearl Earring while you get your nails painted or your sideburns tapered sounds like a dream.”
I wonder if you got to choose a favorite painting in front of which to park yourself at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum while getting the special Starry Night-inspired nail art? If only . . .
Click here for the article, complete with photos you would not have imagined.
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.