No Man’s Art Gallery: a unique mix of art, creativity, and cosiness.

Are you looking for an inspiring space for your next business or private events? “No Man’s Art Gallery” is what you’ve been searching for!

Oct 10, 2019 · 5 min read

A stone’s throw away from Westerpark, at Bos en Lommer, you’ll find No Man’s Art Gallery. The neighbourhood art gallery that’s also a restaurant and bar. A favourite hangout spot for the locals, this gallery has found the delicate balance between an art exhibition and an intimate cafe. With the open space of the gallery and the cosy social area, your event is bound to be an unforgettable moment.

We sat down with one of the founders and curators, Emmelie Koster, to ask about the story behind No Man’s Art Gallery, the why, the art, and what makes NMAG unique! Let’s check it out!

No Man’s Art Gallery in Amsterdam West

Why did you start No Man’s Art Gallery in Amsterdam? What motivated you to do this project?
We started No Man’s Art Gallery almost ten years ago, but only as a gallery. Now it’s so much more than a gallery; we have a restaurant, a bar, a garden, and many more.

We started in 2011 as a pop-up gallery, and we did it all over the world; in Tehran, Shanghai, Cape Town, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Mumbai, Hamburg and Amsterdam. We set up temporary art galleries in unconventional spaces, such as in a graveyard, public shelter or warehouse; where we showed the work of young local artists from that place, but also the young artists that we’d picked up along the way.

We really felt the need to create a basis for ourselves from which we could expand onto our global adventures.

The Cafe and Restaurant area

That has always been and still is our identity. We really felt the need to create a basis for ourselves from which we could expand onto our global adventures. For many years we were renting many different anti-squat spaces around Amsterdam. But with the housing market changing, the demand for empty spaces went up, and it became more challenging to build an exhibition program on the insecurity of locations. We wanted to open a fixed venue in Amsterdam.

Opening a gallery comes with its challenges. People say it’s dying; the public doesn’t go into art exhibitions as often, to look at art and then purchases it. We didn’t want to step on that train that might leave to nowhere.

You are always hosting, as a gallery, the same as a restaurant or a bar. So we decided to merge these two worlds. To have a mix of art, creativity, and cosiness.

We decided that we need to reinvent the gallery model for ourselves.
A question pops up in our mind: It’s to show people the works of arts while inviting people to a creative space. Right. However, one of the main objections against galleries is that they are uninviting. So, can we make it more inviting? You are always hosting, as a gallery, the same as a restaurant or a bar. So we decided to merge these two worlds. To have a mix of art, creativity, and cosiness.

Restaurant and Bar

This model has its challenge, how to make sure that each purpose has its own space? We need a building big enough to fit both the gallery and the restaurant. We also need to think about the flow of the space. Because once the art is just a decoration for the restaurant/cafe/bar, the delicate balance is ruined and the art won’t be looked at.

What do you think is one of the most exciting features of No Man’s Art Gallery that sets it apart from others?
For sure, the art. Every two month we have a new exhibition. The art really dictates the space. If the artists say “(that’s usually used as a restaurant). Then we make that into the gallery and moves the restaurant to a different room.

Exhibition from different artists

We also sometimes have artists doing their residency here. This summer we had from South Africa creating her art in the upstairs spaces.

What kind of events have you hosted so far? What kind of events you’d like to host that you haven’t done?
We’ve hosted workshops, company drinks, wedding reception, meeting, product release, lecture, private dinners the list goes on.

Upstairs area at No Man’s Art Gallery

We want to host more meetings, and product releases. Our space is very flexible, on one side you have a restaurant/bar and on the other side, an open space. All in all, we have four rooms. An optimal scenario we would recommend is, to do the product release in the gallery, and the social activity or networking at the restaurant.

And oh, we don’t rent out the space for art presentations, since we curate them ourselves.

Anything new or exciting that you are working on and you’d like to share with us?
There is always something new and exciting we are working on because there is always a new exhibition coming.

Upstairs area at No Man’s Art Gallery

I’m really excited about two of the exhibitions coming up, one is with , during the Afrovibes festival (09.10.2019–24.11.2019). She’s a South African artist that we haven’t worked with before. We will be presenting some old and new work from her.

14th of December, we’re opening the exhibition of Arash Fakhim, a Dutch artist that’s going to create all-new works for his first solo exhibition. That’s going to be very exciting!

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