Art Week Rotterdam 2019

Today I went to Rotterdam with my wife to visit three art fairs in one day. We were invited to the VIP openings for all three because of my wife being both an artist and an art collector. I brought a camera to take pictures of anything that piqued my interest.

Haute Photographie

The first fair was Haute Photographie, the art photography fair organized by Roy Kahmann of Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam:

[…] a new photography fair with a concept unlike any other. Haute Photographie is centred around a group exhibition, featuring works by the grand masters from the history of photography, to the youngest and most exciting young talents working with the medium today. Haute Photographie is a boutique photography fair with the allure of a museum.

Langdon Clay (1949) - King’s Inn Car, Chevrolet Caprice, Hoboken, NJ, 1975

Barry Kornbluh - Torso (Undressing) 2006 - silver gelatin print

Marvin E. Newman (1927, US)

Christer Strömholm - Paris, Montparnasse (late 50’s, silver gelatin print, vintage)

Nora Papp - Instagram Toaster (2018) - Archival pigment print on glass

We bought this one! This work you really have to see in real life to enjoy it - it’s printed on glass that’s mounted with space behind it so the work acquires a lot of dynamic from the shadows that move as you go past the work. Compare it with the way the artist shows the work on her @nora___papp Instagram timeline:

What we like about it that it’s at the same time both the result of a very conceptual approach to making art, and a very aesthetically pleasing dynamic work of art that we probably won’t grow tired of soon.

Inspired by Instagram, Nora Papp uses the deconstruction of a digital image to collect “aesthetic data”. Every digital image is divisible into luminosity, levels, brightness, contrast, texture, warmth, saturation, colour, highlights, sharpness, creation and reproduction, distribution, storage. With the help of imaging software, she uses the data she collected from Instagram images. The choice of combining or applying these elements in a certain way, while listing the values that she considers artistically significant, creates a new abstract image.

Nora Papp graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam in 2018.


Hellen van Meene showing something on her phone to Roy Kahmann (probably pictures of her dogs 😉) with the work of Nora Papp in the background.

Christopher Anderson - Bleu Blanc Rouge No. 4: Cherries, 2014

Shen Wei (China, 1977) - James (2007)

Does this work look like a Hellen van Meene or is it just me?

Two older works made in Korea by our friend Julia Fullerton-Batten and two works from her super-ambitious Old Father Thames series. These faithful copies of famous paintings are not my favorites from that series: I like the re-enacted events related to the river Thames found in old newspaper more.

Julia Fullerton-Batten - Serie Corea 2013 - Portrait: Le Go Eun 2013 - C-Type Print

Sascha Weidner (German photographer who died four years ago at the age of 40)

A detail of a work by our friend Carla van de Puttelaar that features a marble-like fabric which might indicate a (shared) love of the work of the Baroque style of sculpture by Bernini.

Ahn Jun - One Life (2018)

Eiji Ohashi - Roadside Lights III #042 (2018)

A wall of works by Kahmann Gallery poster-boy and Alkmaar (Hellen’s hometown) citizen Bastiaan Woudt.

It’s quite likely that no hardworking taxpaying citizen’s euros were spent on supporting this fair.


New Current

The ground floor of the Cruise Terminal at the Wilhelminapier was dedicated to the work of 15 artist who graduated in the last 5 five year.

I liked this work by Quinda Verheul. It looks like it’s just made from mirror, sand and light, and could be made by any of your nephews, but hey: they don’t think of making anything like this!

Qade (Qontemporary Art and DEsign) Solo Project

Twenty-five galleries showing two solo exhibitions each. I hate the name of this fair. I don’t know to pronounce it (“quade”? “kaa-duh”?), and “Qontemporary”? Come on!

Francois du Plessis - Book Objects.

I loved this! It worked on many levels - only when you got real close you could make up how it was made.

Two nice intricate skulls by our friend Carolein Smit.

A view of a rainy and misty New Meuse river and Erasmus Bridge from the Cruise Terminal at the Wilhelminapier.

Art Rotterdam

Art Rotterdam is the biggest contemporary art fair of the Netherlands. The location is the great Van Nelle factory.

a prime example of the International Style based upon constructivist architecture. It has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. Soon after it was built, prominent architects described the factory as “the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age” (Le Corbusier in 1932) and “a poem in steel and glass”

I’d love to link to their website but unfortunately it’s broken right now (with a quite familiar Yellow Screen Of Death):

When we arrived at this fair we first had to drop off my wife Hellen van Meene’s polaroids at We Like Art, but thankfully this year they were inside of the fair just left of the entrance!

You can buy this one of a kind instant photo (yes, it’s not really a multiple of the kind We Like Art sells - you buy a unique photo of a series of many taken of one of our daughters lying in our bathtub surrounded by flowers).

Heringa/Van Kalsbeek - Hurry Slowly (2017) - Resin and metal @ We Like Art

Hans Houwing. They look like Bic pen drawings and that’s all I need.

Robert Barta - 100 years, 2019 (electric motor, lead battery, magnets, beer coaster, classical foldable table, 80 x 113 x 50cm) at Rutger Brandt Gallery. It’s a typical Dutch round paper beer coaster magically rotating on top of a vintage table.

Maria Roosen @ Galerie Fons Welters

A work and a close-up of a work by our friend Awoiska van der Molen (silver gelatin prints).

Hellen van Meene posing with Katja Mater - one of her models in the early days her career - who was an our later to become the winner of the NN Group (a too big to fail Dutch financial giant) Art Award 2019!

A page from Hellen van Meene’s first monograph (sought after by collectors, especially since it appeared in ‘The Photobook, A History Volume II’ by Martin Parr en Gerry Badger) featuring a portrait of Katja Mater.

Luis Felipe Ortega

Johan De Wit. It’s paper, but it doesn’t look like it. We are close to buying one of his works.

Tom Woestenborghs Belgian. #boobies

A work by an unidentified artist, but emblematic of a lot of other works featuring weaving.

Pim Palsgraaf

Diana Roig

Couleurs II (9luik), 2018, schuursponsjes, 8,5 x 80 x 3 cm, D.D. Trans

The Van Nelle Fabriek is a great place: my photo.

Paola Ciarska


That’s the end of part one. Part two coming soon!

A Crate-Digger's Dream

Last week I was on the road with my wife to the south of Netherlands and Belgian Limburg, and along the way we decided to stop at a thrift store in Zaltbommel that was just of the highway.

Cat Ranja checking out the stack of records bought in thrift stores during our trip to the south of Netherlands and Belgian Limburg.

In that store I encountered a crate digger’s dream: an untouched complete collection of records owned by someone with great taste, dumped in the €0.50-a-record crates of a second hand store. The collection could be recognized by small stickers with a catalog number written on it and contained mainly 60’s-70’s Blues/Classic/Country/Folk Rock, but also some Psychedelic and Prog Rock, some Ambient and even New Wave: Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young), The Doobie Brothers, The Doors, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Janis Joplin, Jon And Vangelis, Klaus Schulze, The Mama’s & The Papa’s, Mike Oldfield, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Stephen Stills, and Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel.

All of the records I bought at De Spullewaard. Seven records are not from the collection with the small stickers, like Al Martino, Eartha Kitt, Simple Minds and the two records from Brazil.

The funny thing was that a regular customer of the store, who was going through the stacks of b-movie DVD’s, asked me somewhat derogatorily whether there was anything in those crates that he had long ago stopped looking at because they only contained “James Last & friends records”. I told him there was, and when he saw me picking up record by record he started paying attention. When he saw me putting a Crosby, Stills And Nash record on my stack he could not keep himself from saying that he was looking for that record for a long time.

In the end I walked away with 35 records for € 20 (10 for € 5, and € 1 a piece)! For karma I gave the CSN record to the poor guy…

I’ve just finished adding the Zaltbommel records to my collection on Discogs (the world’s “biggest and most comprehensive music database and marketplace”), and it has calculated the value of the 35 records for me, based on the last 10 records sold (with the same grading):

  • min. price: €147.95
  • median price: €241.74
  • max price: €402.87

So based on the median price I should have paid more than 12 times the amount I had to pay. That’s a pretty good bargain!

Search for occurrences of Azure Service Management PowerShell cmdlets using a regular expression

I got an e-mail from Microsoft Azure today warning me of the imminent retirement of the Service Management REST APIs for Azure Automation. It will be no longer supported on April 30, 2019:

Required action

Migrate any Service Management REST APIs and PowerShell cmdlets for Azure Automation to Resource Manager REST APIs or the latest PowerShell cmdlets by April 30, 2019, to take advantage of advanced capabilities and avoid any service disruptions.

More information

If you’re unsure whether you’re using Service Management REST APIs, check the URI referenced in your code or service. If it’s, you’re using Service Management REST APIs and you should migrate to Resource Manager REST APIs.

If you’re unsure whether you’re using Service Management PowerShell cmdlets, check whether the cmdlet name includes AzureRM (for example, Get-AzureRmAutomationAccount) or Az (for example, Get-AzAutomationAccount). If it doesn’t include AzureRM or Az (for example, Get-AzureAutomationAccount), you should migrate to Resource Manager PowerShell cmdlets.

Searching for ‘Get-Azure’ not followed by ‘Rm’ using a regular expression

I checked our collection of Powershell scripts used in our Build & Release pipeline for this with the following regular expression:


This returns all occurrences of Get-Azure not followed by Rm.

(?!) is a ‘negative lookahead’.

I wrote my regex in Rad Software Regular Expression Designer (which has a website that no longer works but can still be downloaded - read a review of it on a blog post):

Searching for this regular expression in Visual Studio only returned multiple occurrences of Get-AzureDeployment, like this:

$productionSlot = Get-AzureDeployment -ServiceName $serviceName -Slot Production

How to fix the Newman task for Team Foundation Server silently failing

The Problem

Running the NewmanPostman_VSTS_Task on our on-premise Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2017.3.1 finished successfully, but no tests were run:

##[section]Starting: Newman - Postman
Task : Newman the cli Companion for Postman
Description : Using Newman, one can effortlessly run and test a Postman Collections directly from the
Version : 3.0.21
Author : Carlo Wahlstedt
Help : [More Information](
found 1 files
No specific path to newman, using default of 'newman'
No custom report configured
Reporter list is : cli,json,junit
[command]C:\Users\[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\newman\bin\newman.js run D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.postman_collection.json -r cli,json,junit -n 1 -e D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.Dev03.postman_environment.json
2019-01-09T09:49:11.3043192Z ##[section]Finishing: Newman - Postman


When the NewmanPostman_VSTS_Task tries to run AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\newman\bin\newman.js instead of AppData\Roaming\npm\newman.cmd ensure that the PATH environment variable for the user that the builds run on has C:\Users\[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm in it, and reboot the server after that.

The Solution

I’ve already spoiled the ending of this blog post in the section above so the following is only interesting for people who like to know how I - despite starting with looking in the wrong place - managed to find a solution.

When I tried to run the same command directly on the build server …

C:\Windows\system32>C:\Users\[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\newman\bin\newman.js run D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.postman_collection.json -
r cli,json,junit -n 1 -e D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.Dev03.postman_environment.json

… it opened the newman.js file in Notepad, instead of running the command!

This however did work as expected, so Newman was installed properly:

C:\>newman --help
Usage: newman [options] [command]

-v, --version output the version number
-h, --help output usage information

run [options] <collection> URL or path to a Postman Collection.

I disassociated .js files from Notepad by running the ASSOC command:

C:\Windows\system32>assoc .js=
The system cannot find the file specified.

“If ASSOC is invoked with just a file extension, it displays the current
file association for that file extension. Specify nothing for the file type and the command will delete the association for the file extension.”

This did not change anything, so I decided to reboot the build server. That did not change a thing too.

I then decided to search everywhere for “change the file type” and clicked “Change the file type associated with a file extension”. There I noticed that .js was still associated with Notepad! I decided to change the association to “Microsoft ® Windows Based Script Host”, because the .jse extension had that too.

Now when I excuted the newman.js run command I got an error instead of Notepad being opened:

There is no script engine for file extension “.js”.

So I tried another reboot, once more without success. I decided to have a look at our Development build server, where Newman was running correctly. There everything looked to be set up in the same way: no file association according to assoc .js, associated to “Microsoft ® Windows Based Script Host” according to “Set Associations”, and no mention of Newman in Environment PATH variables.

Looking at the logs of the “Newman - Postman” task of the build I noticed a difference. The successful one had this:

[command]C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /D /S /C “C:\Users[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm\newman.cmd run …

The one that used to run the [NewmanPostman_VSTS_Task] but not executing any tests now failed with:

found 1 files
No specific path to newman, using default of ‘newman’
##[error]Unable to locate executable file: ‘newman’.
Please verify either the file path exists or the file can be found within a directory specified by the PATH environment variable.
Also verify the file has a valid extension for an executable file.

With that information I decided to have a look at the PATH variable in the Environment Variables of the Development build server: no mention of Newman there too.

I then realized that the builds run on a particular account. Here’s what I found in that User’s PATH variable (without the line-breaks):

C:\Program Files\Nodejs;

And nothing related to npm or newman in the system’s Environment Variables.

I found only this for the User PATH variable on the ‘problem server’:


And nothing related to npm or newman in that system’s Environment Variables too.

Looking at those difference I decided to try to add C:\Users\[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm to the PATH variable for the [BUILDSERVER-USERNAME] user.

Tried the build again but it still failed with Unable to locate executable file: 'newman'. Time for a restart. That finally did the trick!

Now the build ran Newman like this:

C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /D /S /C “C:\Users[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm\newman.cmd run D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\AangifteStatusAPI\AangifteStatusAPI.postman_collection.json -r “cli,json,junit” -n 1 -e D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\AangifteStatusAPI\AangifteStatusAPI.Delivery.postman_environment.json”

Instead of this:

C:\Users[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\newman\bin\newman.js run D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.postman_collection.json -r cli,json,junit -n 1 -e D:\TFS\Delivery\01\119\s\Delivery\ApiTests\BTW2019\BTW2019.Dev03.postman_environment.json

So I was looking in the wrong place all the time: it wasn’t a problem with running .js files, it was actually a problem with the wrong command being run.


When the NewmanPostman_VSTS_Task tries to run AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\newman\bin\newman.js instead of AppData\Roaming\npm\newman.cmd ensure that the PATH environment variable for the user that the builds run on has C:\Users\[BUILDSERVER-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\npm in it, and reboot the server after that.

Don’t be fooled by the task executing newman.js but not running any test, and don’t go on an expedition trying to fix that!

Happy holidays and a great 2019!

This is our Christmas card for this year. We’ve also sent out luxury hard-copy postcard version to 50 lucky people. Do you still send Christmas/New Year’s cards?

I’ve photoshopped this image from these two sources - a photo of my copy of one of my favourite Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass albums:

And a photo by my wife of our whippet dog Juno. He can run for 70 km/h but he was also trained to hold a rose in his mouth:

The original album title is “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” which was punningly changed to “Whippet Cream”.

Further reading:

My Musical Discoveries Of 2018

Music I’ve discovered in 2018 (not made in 2018), in no particular order:

New York - Addis - London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 by Mulatu Astatke

Rest by Charlotte Gainsbourg

Bedouine (Deluxe) by Bedouine

Psycho Tropical Berlin by La Femme

Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Luwten by Luwten

My Top 18 Albums Of The Year

My Top 18 albums of the year, in no particular order.

Remain in Light by Angelique Kidjo

West African singer Angélique Kidjo’s full-album cover of Talking Heads’ 1980 classic Remain in Light.

Singularity by Jon Hopkins

Melancholic electronic: my favourite genre. Saw a great set at the Down The Rabbit Hole too.

Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) by Thom Yorke

The film is great too!

Dionysus by Dead Can Dance

Looking forward to their concert in Utrecht next year.

The Deconstruction by Eels

His concert in Utrecht was okay too, though it could not top his show with a string quartet I saw in Groningen a long time ago.

Where Wildness Grows by Gengahr

Young, eager band I saw in the tiny Sugarfactory club in Amsterdam.

Cocoa Sugar by Young Fathers

The only act doing interesting stuff in contemporary hiphop.

Superorganism by Superorganism

My favourite new band! Saw them in the Sugarfactory too.

American Utopia by David Byrne

Best show of the year (and in my all-time top 5): David Byrne at Down The Rabbit Hole.

Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin

You’ve got to love this: “smooth, mainly instrumental music [..] heavily influenced by Thai rock and funk“.

If you like the XX ot Budos Band and any type of off-centre world music you’re going to love this.

Radio Highlife by Auntie Flo

Super-exciting hybrid of world and electronic music.

How To Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1-3) by Belle & Sebastian

Nothing exciting and new but a resounding pleasure.

I Like Fun by They Might Be Giants

They have been going steady since the 1990s but this did feel like a comeback album to me, and I enjoyed their show at Paradiso.

The Long March by Le Trio Joubran

My favourite palestinian Ud Tri. Saw them in Amsterdam during the Ud Festival this year on the night this album was released.

Maghreb United by Ammar 808

This act might me open for me when I tour with my Aleppo Favela Soundsystem.

On by Altin Gün

Dutch artists inspired by 1970s Turkish psychedelic rock. Didn’t catch them live yet.

ANNO: Four Seasons by Anna Meredith & Antonio Vivaldi by Anna Meredith, Scottish Ensemble, Jonathan Morton

classic music re-mixed and re-interpreted.

MADAME by Alice on the roof

Album cover by Hellen van Meene!

Business Trip To Belgrade, Serbia - Day 5

Click on an image to start a slideshow.

The last day at the Belgrade office. See also day one, day two, day three and day four.

Went to the Farmer’s market “Zeleni venac” (Пијаца „Зелени венац“) before breakfast (make sure you look at the smileys in the pickled vegetables jars), to see something of the city at daylight! Around noon it started snowing, and we’re now at the airport.

Record Stores in Belgrade, Serbia

Here’s my small guide to shopping for vinyl records in Belgrade. You won’t find any bargains when shopping for new vinyl here: the prices are the same or higher compared to the Netherlands, or any other Western European country. I did find some great new and second-hand local records though!

Usce Shopping Mall

At this mall I found the smallest record store ever! It’s a small stall on the ground floor powered by Metropolis Music and Mascom Records.

The Vulkan bookstore at the top level has a small vinyl section:

At this store I bought the above record for 2499 RSD: Golden Horns - The Best Of Boban I Marko Marković Orkestar. I first heard this music in Emir Kusturica’s epic 1995 movie Underground:

Here are two of the songs on the album:

Muzička kuća Metropolis

A large record store that also doubles as a bar. Didn’t buy anything there. Open until late at night.


Didn’t go in there because it looked like they only sold CD’s.

Felix Shop

This place mostly sells rock-band t-shirts and has a very small selection of CD’s and also - surprisingly - some cassettes. It’s at the first floor of the building.

Knjižare Vulkan

This Vulkan book store has a small selection of vinyl records in the basement.

Yugovinyl record store Belgrade

This is my favourite record store in Belgrade, with a huge selection of vinyl records, both new and second-hand. It was a bit hard to find: when you think you’re looking at the entrance of a parking lot you’re in the right place. Very friendly and helpful staff, and there’s a record player with headphones were you can listen to the stuff you pick from the crates and shelves. Prices are on the inside of the records. Open all evening! I bought one new and five second-hand (priced between 800 - 2000 RSD) Serbian/Yugoslavian records there, mostly brass bands. They also had an impressive collection of Turkish 70’s psychedelic rock, for example.

Here’s what I bought at Yugovinyl:

Listen to the funky drumming on this track by Zorica Markovic:

Frantic brass and a resolutely non-4/4 time signature on this track by Redzepova Usnija:

And finally the Duvački Orkestar Radovana Babića ‎in action:

(Updated 2018-12-15 16:57 added photos of ПГП РТС)