American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin

Poetics and Politics with Poet Terrance Hayes

I lock you in an American sonnet that is part prison, / Part panic closet, in a little room in a house set aflame … I lock your persona in a dream-inducing sleeper hold / While your better selves watch from the bleachers.  In 70 poems Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of America, of assassin, …...

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Stamped from the Beginning

Ibram X. Kendi (the book) and Roger Ross Williams (the film)

“Time and again, racist ideas have not been cooked up from the boiling pot of ignorance and hate. Time and again, powerful and brilliant men and women have produced racist ideas in order to justify the racist policies of their era and redirect the blame onto Black people.” In his book Stamped from the Beginning, …...

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Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch III

Living with history: A people’s journey, a nation’s story

“Museums have a social justice role to play. Cultural institutions need to be as much about today and tomorrow as they are about yesterday. This may just be a time of transformation.” Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the highest position of leadership within the world’s largest museum, education, …...

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Miriam Toews

On Film and Literature

Miriam Toews is the award-winning author of nine books, including Women Talking, which won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay at the 2023 Academy Awards,  and All My Puny Sorrows. Known for her light, oftentimes humorous touch, Toews finds moments of brightness and humanity in even the darkest of narratives. Her latest novel, Fight Night, …...

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Immigration, Transformation and Society

Theater & Talk

What makes up the immigrant experience? What are its contours, challenges and realities? And what gets lost, altered, or edited in the transition between leaving one’s birth country and arriving in a new one? The John Adams Institute is thrilled to present an evening that weaves arts and academics, traverses national boundaries, and crosses oceans, …...

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An Evening with Lauren Groff

“She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France.” Rising American literary star Lauren Groff’s most recent novel inhabits the borderlands between myth and history. Set in the early Middle Ages, Matrix is a mystical exploration of the raw power of female creativity in …...

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Michael Ignatieff

On Consolation

How do we find solace in modern times? The internationally acclaimed Canadian author and historian Michael Ignatieff will visit the John Adams Institute to discuss just that in his new, bestselling book: On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. Ignatieff was the rector of the Central European University in Budapest, until he was forced to …...

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The Photograph

Documentary & Doc Talk

In The Photograph, a single photo unleashes a whirlwind of exceptional stories. About New York and its Black inhabitants, about pride and tradition, about the power of photography, and about director Sherman De Jesus’ grandfather. Sherman De Jesus heads to New York with a seemingly clear goal in mind: to find out the story behind …...

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Art & Activism in America Now

American art today is confronting issues of racism, colonialism and identity head on. What is it like to be a visual artist in America now, where the public debate is dominated by Trumpism on the one hand and Black Lives Matter on the other? The John Adams is joining forces with Kunsthal KAdE to talk …...

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Roger Ross Williams

The Innocence Files

The documentary series The Innocence Files is inspired by ‘The Innocence Project’, started in 1992 by two New York lawyers who use DNA technology to exonerate people who were wrongly convicted. There are now Innocence Projects in every state of the US. They have been able to get over 2500 people out of jail, often …...

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Roger Ross Williams

Documentary 'The Apollo' & Doc Talk

IDFA and the John Adams present the documentary The Apollo by director Roger Ross Williams. After the screening, Williams will take the stage for an interview, along with several experts on soul music. In 2018, the John Adams hosted Roger Ross Williams for a screening of his powerful documentary American Jail. The Apollo Theater on …...

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Raymond Neutra

My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

From old-world Vienna to the breezy mid-century Modernism of Southern California: the career of the architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) spanned continents and epochs. His son Raymond Neutra is coming to Amsterdam for an event co-hosted by Iconic Houses and Museum het Schip, to talk about his father’s work and his relationship to architecture in America. After …...

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Peter Sellars

The Future of Opera in a Changing World

The John Adams is partnering with the Dutch National Opera for a special 45-minute talk about the future of opera in a changing world, by renowned stage director Peter Sellars. Sellars is best known for staging plays and operas for numerous international theaters in settings wildly different from those suggested by the text. He wrote …...

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Stephanie Houtzeel


Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Houtzeel is winning accolades for her opera and concert performances around the world.  She was nominated one of the best up-and-coming singers by Opernwelt Magazine. Opera News has praised her performances as “vocally, dramatically and physically sublime.”  During her recital she performed musical selections by American composers Charles Ives and Elliot Carter....

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American Adventures in Architecture

Frank Gehry and John Walsh in Discussion

As part of the American Adventures Festival in Amsterdam, the John Adams Institute hosted a series of lectures on various subjects. On July 2, 1999, architect Frank Gehry and director of de J. Paul Getty Musem John Walsh spoke on the American influences in European architecture. Dutch architect Cees Dam moderated the evening. Internationally celebrated …...

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American Adventures in Art

A Discussion between David Salle and Anna Tilroe

As part of the American Adventures Festival in Amsterdam, the John Adams Institute hosted a series of lectures on various subjects. On June 27, 1999, American artist Davide Salle and Dutch art critic Anna Tilroe discussed the American influences on European contemporary art. David Salle established himself in the late 1970s as one of the …...

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American Adventures in Music

Philip Glass and Louis Andriesen in Discussion

As part of the American Adventures Festival in Amsterdam, the John Adams Institute hosted a series of lectures on various subjects. On June 26, 1999, American composer Philip Glass and Dutch composer Louis Andriessen spoke about influences from the U.S. on 20th century Dutch composing.    Since the opera Einstein on the Beach, produced in collaboration …...

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American Adventures in Music

Wynton Marsalis and Leonard Slatkin in Discussion

As part of the American Adventures Festival in Amsterdam, the John Adams Institute hosted a series of lectures on various subjects. On June 21, 1999, jazz trumpet player, classical musician and composer Wynton Marsalis and music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. Leonard Slatkin discussed American music. Marsalis wrote an epic oratorio …...

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American Jail: Film & Interview

With Director Roger Ross Williams

The John Adams, in collaboration with Submarine, is bringing Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams to Amsterdam to discuss his latest documentary,  American Jail. In this provocative and personal film, he explores the modern tragedy of mass incarceration from both a very personal and a political angle. He contends that poor people and minorities are more …...

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1968 – Vietnam Protest

You Say You Want A Revolution

Fifty years ago, from Paris to Mexico-City,  young people, students, factory workers and filmmakers united to protest authority. They did not only carry rocks, but also light, flexible 16mm camera’s. On the fiftieth birthday of the May 1968 Paris events, EYE Film Museum, in their series “1968 – You Say You Want A Revolution”, will show …...

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Robbert Dijkgraaf & Pia de Jong

An evening on books, academic & family life

The John Adams Institute is happy to announce our upcoming event ‘An Evening with Robbert Dijkgraaf & Pia de Jong’. During this evening Dijkgraaf and De Jong will speak about their work and about academic and family life in the United States. The audience will be given a unique insight in the life and work …...

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Alex Ross

Adventures in Musical Modernism

The John Adams is partnering with the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, which will run from 27 January to 3 February 2018 at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. On the last day of the festival, the renowned music critic of The New Yorker, Alex Ross, will give a talk in which he will reflect on some of the …...

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Amsterdam Stories

Rob Rombout and Rogier van Eck

Have the Netherlands left a mark on the US? Come find out on December 11th, when the Belgian filmmakers Rob Rombout and Rogier van Eck show a compilation of their road movie in which they take you all across the continent to visit all the American places named Amsterdam. On their journey through cities, towns, …...

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Lauren Greenfield

Generation Wealth

We are obsessed by the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The acclaimed American photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, maker of the award-winning documentary The Queen of Versailles, is a prominent chronicler of consumerism, youth culture and gender issues. In addition to her many films, exhibitions and monographs such as Girl Culture, Fast Forward and THIN, she is most …...

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Bernstein: East Side, West Side

An evening with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

As a young musician Leonard ‘Lenny’ Bernstein lived in an immigrant neighborhood of New York City, the Lower East Side. He died in his apartment at the prestigious Dakota building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In cooperation with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, we presented a special program in the West-Indisch Huis which shed a …...

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Steve McCurry

On Reading

Photographer Steve McCurry (1950) is best known for his iconic picture taken in 1984 of an Afghan girl, which was published on the cover of National Geographic the following year. He managed to enter Afghanistan just as it was being closed to Western journalists. The images that he smuggled out of the country showed the …...

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The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie as Memory Play

In this collaboration with Toneelgroep Amsterdam, we paid attention to their performance of Tennessee Williams’ legendary play The Glass Menagerie (Glazen Speelgoed). This is the first play directed outside America by rising star Sam Gold. The Glass Menagerie, one of the most powerful plays of the 20th century, is a tale of love, loss and the disparate …...

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Philip Glass

Words Without Music

We were honored to have one of the most influential composers of the 20th century on the John Adams program. Philip Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience not only in the opera house and the concert hall, but also in the dance world, in film and in popular music – …...

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Lynda Waggoner


Frank Lloyd Wright is regarded by the American Institute of Architects as the greatest American architects of all time, and they voted his masterwork Fallingwater “the best all-time work of American architecture”. Designed in 1935, the house in southwestern Pennsylvania is hailed as a marvel of innovation and daring design that appears to float over …...

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Game of Thrones

Designing the Seven Kingdoms with William Simpson

Today’s most popular television series is without a doubt Game of Thrones, in which kings and queens, knights and renegades all battle to conquer the Iron Throne. There are numerous blogs devoted to the series, there are viewing parties in bars and restaurants and it’s the most (illegally) downloaded program. On the day of the …...

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Requiem for the American Dream

Kelly Nyks

In Requiem for the American Dream, Noam Chomsky argues that the collapse of American democratic ideals and the rise of the 1% means that the American dream is harder than ever to achieve. Tracing a half-century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority, Chomsky lays bare the costly debris left …...

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Noah Charney

The Art of Forgery. The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers

Art forgery has an intriguing place in the world of crime. No violence, no victims and forgers are often seen as cheeky practical jokers. Who doesn’t remember Han van Meegeren, who tricked Herman Göring into buying a fake Vermeer? Also, the benefits for art criminals outweigh the risks they have to take, according to art …...

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Woody and the Big Apple

This summer EYE was  showing ‘The Comedies of Woody Allen . On August 22th, EYE and the John Adams collaborated on a special screening of three Woody Allen films in which New York plays an important role. John Adams-director Tracy Metz gave an introduction on the role the city plays in Allen’s films; sociologist Jan …...

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John Adams at IDFA

The Female Gaze

The John Adams Institute collaborated with the International Documentary Film Festival this year on the theme ‘The Female Gaze’. IDFA invited fifteen leading female directors from various countries to present three documentaries each: one directed by themselves, one directed by a woman who has inspired them, and one by an up-and-coming female talent. The John …...

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David Byrne & Michel Lambot

Are Musicians an Endangered Species in the Digital World?

The John Adams Instiute presented an evening with Michel Lambot who had a conversation with David Byrne, Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, cofounder of Talking Heads and author of How Music Works. In How Music Works, David Byrne explores the fundamentals of making music and analyses how profoundly music is shaped by its …...

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Unseen Photo Fair

Under Construction in collaboration with John Adams Institute

Programme with talks and round table discussion related to the exhibition Under Construction – New Positions in American Photography which opens in Foam on September 17. An exhibition that explores the latest developments towards the use of the photographic image, its complexity and its meaning in the current stream of digitalization. Often there exists an …...

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B.J. Novak

One More Thing

With One More Thing, author, actor and comedian B.J. Novak brings you a hilarious collection of bizarre and short stories. Most people know him as the character Ryan from the television series The Office U.S., on which he was also one of the writers. With a background in stand-up comedy, Novak’s stories are quick and …...

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Henry Urbach

The Glass House

Henry Urbach is Director of the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, one of the 20th century’s most significant residential structures. Built in 1949 by Philip Johnson — an enfant terrible of American architecture —as a weekend retreat that grew over several decades into a campus comprising numerous structures and an important art collection. The …...

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Dan Hassler-Forest

Capitalist Superheroes: Caped Crusaders in the Neoliberal Age

In 2002 the editors of Der Spiegel depicted then-president George W. Bush as a comic book superhero on their cover. They expected outrage from the White House. Instead, Bush ordered 33 posters of the image. In his new book, Dan Hassler-Forest, a professor of media studies at the University of Amsterdam, sees the Hollywood films …...

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Tracy Metz

Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch

Hurricane Sandy reawakened America, and the world, to what we already knew: our coasts are under threat. In Sweet & Salt, Tracy Metz lays out the special relationship that the Dutch have with the sea–how thoroughly water management is rooted in the culture – and she offers potential solutions for places around the world that are …...

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David Henry Hwang

A Multicultural Dialogue Through Theater

David Henry Hwang is one of America’s top playwrights, and one of its most incisive chroniclers of the immigrant experience in America: or better said, the post-immigrant experience. Hwang was born in Los Angeles to Chinese parents, and grew up as a “real” American. He later said that as a boy he considered his Chinese …...

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Stanley Kubrick Remembered


Stanley Kubrick was one of the greatest American filmmakers ever. His range was incredibly broad: from Lolita to 2001: A Space Odyssey, from the horror of The Shining to the dystopia of A Clockwork Orange to the antiwar intensity of Full Metal Jacket. The John Adams Institute and EYE presented a special event dedicated to the master. Kubrick’s widow, Christiane Kubrick, and …...

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Gini Reticker

Peace Unveiled

As Afghanistan continues to struggle, so do its women and children. But there are strong individuals who give reason for hope. The groundbreaking documentary film Peace Unveiled, narrated by Tilda Swinton, follows three Afghan women who organized to protect women’s rights from being traded away in 2009 during peace talks between U.S.forces and the Taliban. One …...

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Leo Blokhuis

The Sound of the South

Leo Blokhuis is the Dutch “pop professor.”  He is co-host of the TV show Top 2000 a Gogo. His last book, The Sound of the West Coast, won the Golden Tulip award, and the accompanying album reached gold status. In his new book, The Sound of the South, he makes the case that in the early 60’s southern soul was influenced …...

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Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Van Gogh: The Life

So you think you know Vincent Van Gogh? Think again. In the first major biography of the Dutch genius in more than 70 years, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith – who previously won a Pulitzer Prize for their biography of Jackson Pollock – give a richly detailed, and in some ways surprising, portrait of …...

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Marvin Hamlisch

The Maestro of American Music

The John Adams Institute, in cooperation with AEGON, was honored to host composer Marvin Hamlish for a second time. Marvin Hamlisch was the maestro of American music, and one of the most celebrated composers of our time. He won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards. His Broadway credits include A …...

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Spike Lee

Doing the Right Thing

America has the Tea Party movement. Europe has its anti-immigrant movement. How should a society balance the rights of citizens with the needs of newcomers? How do we ensure that government treats everyone equally? How do we respond when it doesn’t? And how can individuals, especially young people, find their place and make their voices …...

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Lang Lang

A Conversation, with Music

“The hottest artist on the classical music planet” (in the words of the New York Times) also has a remarkable life story. He grew up in northeastern China, won his first piano competition at age 5, and has played in virtually every major concert hall in the world.  His performance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 …...

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Bret Easton Ellis

Imperial Bedrooms

Bret Easton Ellis became a celebrity novelist in 1985, at the age of 21, when Less Than Zero was published. Since then, his work has both built upon and mocked the themes that made him famous, including drug use, designer labels and generally amoral behavior. In his novel Imperial Bedrooms, he returns to the characters of his …...

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Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals

Brilliant, thrilling, genius, breathtaking: such are the adjectives that have routinely been applied to Jonathan Safran Foer’s two award-winning novels.  At 32, a married man with small children, Foer turned his attention to nonfiction, and to the food we eat.  Eating Animals is not an appeal for vegetarianism, but a sustained, at times brutal look at the …...

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Marvin Hamlisch

Composer and Musical Director

Marvin Hamlisch was the maestro of American music. As composer, he scored everything from Woody Allen films to James Bond movies to A Chorus Line and The Sting. With 3 Oscar awards, 4 Grammy awards, 4 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize, Hamlisch was a highly acclaimed composer. He was also an accomplished pianist and …...

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David Simon

The Wire

More than a few critics have called The Wire, the hit U.S. series about crime in Baltimore, the best TV show of the year. David Simon, its creator, began his career as a crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun, where he gleaned details of the city’s seamy side.  Using this material, he produced a series of bestselling books–including Homicide, …...

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Stewart O’Nan

Snow Angels

Winter is cold in Butler, Pennsylvania. The characters in O’Nan’s atmospheric novel interact like snowflakes: in a swirl of love and pain and coincidence. At the center is a boy named Arthur, whose parents’ marriage is collapsing and whose former babysitter is murdered. Last year the book became a Hollywood film starring Sam Rockwell and …...

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Chip Taylor

Songs from a Dutch Tour

Singer-songwriter Chip Taylor took the John Adams Institute stage to talk about his special bond with The Netherlands, but also to play some of his famous songs. Taylor is the man behind such classics as Wild Thing (The Troggs), Try Just a Little Bit Harder (Janis Joplin) and Angel of the Morning (Juice Newton), and is considered one of the great …...

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David Sedaris

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

The humorist and author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim brings his entourage to Amsterdam for the Dutch publication of his latest collection of wisdom, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Sedaris instructed the John Adams audience on how to buy drugs in a North Carolina trailer and …...

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Lisa Jardine

Going Dutch

19 June 2008 In the great book of history, the British Empire typically merits a fat chapter, while the Dutch Enlightenment gets a passing mention. The problem with this, argues Lisa Jardine in her groundbreaking work Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland’s Glory, is that Britain’s rise was built on -not to say swiped from- the …...

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Ben Katchor

On Comics

27 April 2008 The John Adams Institute was proud to present Ben Katchor, the first comic strip artist ever to win a McArthur Foundation “genius grant.” Katchor has been called “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip.” Katchor started out as a contributor to Art Spiegelman’s legendary cutting edge graphics …...

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Steve Earle

in conversation with Chris Kijne

Steve Earle -“the hardcore troubadour”- is a legend in rock and country music circles, and nearly as renowned for his politics as for his music. His 2002 album, Jerusalem, was a reaction to President George W. Bush’s “war on terrorism.” The song “John Walker’s Blues,” about the captured American Taliban John Walker Lindh, provoked headlines around …...

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Nigella Lawson

Nigella Express

The John Adams Institute proudly presented an evening around the multi-talented author, journalist and TV personality Nigella Lawson. According to Salman Rushdie she is one of the most original and funny literary food writers. Nigella is an interesting personality in her own right. She has written extensively about the loss to cancer of two loved …...

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Dana Thomas

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre

The topic of luxury today is all about globalization, capitalization, class and culture. Dana Thomas explores with a blend of history, culture and investigative journalism the whole of today’s high-end shopping experience. Thomas answers some pressing questions in her book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre: What happened to brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Yves Saint …...

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John Adams & Peter Sellars

Dr. Atomic Revisited

Composer John Adams and theater director Peter Sellars joined us us for a joint interview to mark the Dutch premiere of their opera Dr. Atomic. Following the success of the opera Nixon in China, Dr Atomic once again explores a politically current theme with great artistic flair, which Sellars, who wrote the libretto, skilfully links …...

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Miranda July

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Filmmaker, performing artist and writer Miranda July joined us to discuss her work and her new collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You. After writing, directing and starring in the feature film Me and You and Everyone We Know, which won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, she turned …...

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Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth

United International Pictures (UIP) and The John Adams Institute are proud to present Al Gore at the preview premiere of the film An Inconvenient Truth. Chris Kijne (VPRO broadcaster) presented the evening. Al Gore’s groundbreaking book, An Inconvenient Truth, brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world, as well as photographs, charts, and other …...

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Philip Glass

Waiting for the Barbarians

Philip Glass is one of the late 20th century’s most influential composers and a founder of American Minimalism. His distinctive style – incorporating elements of ethnic and rock music – has been brought to bear on symphonies based on the works of David Bowie and Brian Eno. Waiting for the Barbarians premiered in September 2005 …...

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Mark Kurlansky

The Big Oyster

Former pastry chef and international correspondent Mark Kurlansky reveals the secrets of the foods we love. His culinary odyssey, The Big Oyster, is a history of New York told through its most celebrated shellfish. New York City’s oyster houses were famous around the world until pollution finally destroyed the beds off nearby Ellis Island in the …...

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Jane Fonda

My Life So Far

From Hollywood to Hanoi, Jane Fonda has endeared and enraged Americans for more than four decades with her sparkling performances and outspoken views. Following an eclectic career as an actress, activist and fitness guru plus a string of high-profile husbands the acclaimed Fonda tells all in her new autobiography. Throughout her youth among Hollywood’s elite …...

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An American Evening

In the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, the John Adams Institute proudly presented: An American Evening at the Concertgebouw In honor of the 225th anniversary of John Adams’ arrival in this country, Dutch and American musicians will perform works by Copland, Dvorak and the premiere of: John Adams in Amsterdam “A song for Abigail”, work …...

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Candace Bushnell

Trading Up

The John Adams Institute, in cooperation with Publishing House Vassallucci, invited Candace Bushnell for a unique performance in the music temple Paradiso. The author introduced her recently published – first – novel Trading Up. Heleen van Royen interviewed Miss Bushnell; the public was invited to ask questions. After the booksigning, Candace Bushnell joined the crowd for …...

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Arthur C. Danto

Beauty and Politics

The John Adams Institute, in co-operation with the Historische Uitgeverij, proudly presented Arthur C. Danto in the Van Gogh Museum. The Historische Uitgeverij had recently published a collection of Danto’s most important essays, titled De komedie van de overeenkomsten. Danto was a renowned philosopher and art critic. His theory on the end of art is as …...

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George Plimpton

Zelda, Scott and Ernest: A Theatrical Adaptation

The John Adams Institute was pleased to present a unique performance of the works of Ernest Hemingway and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written by George Plimpton and Terry Quinn, Zelda, Scott and Ernest: A Theatrical Adaptation, was performed by Norman Mailer, Norris Church Mailer and George Plimpton on June 26 in the Stadsschouwburg, Leidseplein 26 …...

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Edmund White

Le Flâneur: a Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris

Edmund White visited the John Adams Institute to present his personal view of Paris, having been a long-time resident. He took us through black, Arab and homosexual Paris, the Jewish ghetto and numerous obscure museums. White is well known for his novels about gay culture, his short stories, plays, essays and a biography of Jean …...

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Ryszard Kapuscinski

The Shadow of the Sun

The John Adams Institute presented a lecture by the eminent Polish journalist and author Ryszard Kapuscinski, who talked about his life’s work and his book The Shadow of the Sun, a masterfully written account of his travels through Africa, his favorite continent. Kapuschinski avoided the official tours as well as the plus hotels, palaces and …...

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Paul Theroux

Fresh Air Fiend

Renowned travel writer Paul Theroux joined the John Adams Institute to talk about his book Fresh Air Fiend. It is his first collection of essays and articles devoted entirely to travel writing, Fresh Air Fiend touches down on five continents and floats through most seas in between to deliver a literary adventure of the first …...

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Simon Schama

Rembrandt's Eyes

Renowned English art historian Simon Schama spoke at the John Adams Institute about his book, Rembrandt’s Eyes. In this book, Schama explores Rembrandt’s obsession with and admiration of the Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens. It was only after the death of the legendary Rubens that Rembrandt discovered his own style, enabling him to breathe new …...

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Bret Easton Ellis


The John Adams Institute welcomed American novelist Bret Easton Ellis, who talked about his work and his novel Glamorama, in which male model Victor Ward constructs his own life on the superficial images of the entertainment industry out of his obsession with the glitter of New York fashion. The novel takes a surprising turn with …...

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Bill Viola

Conversation with Peter Sellars

On the occasion of the 25 year retrospective of Bill Viola’s work at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, the American video artist discussed his work with renowned opera and theater director, Peter Sellars. Viola and Sellars, who are longtime friends, discussed Viola’s work and his contributions to the art world. Bill Viola began working with video …...

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Redmond O’Hanlon


The John Adams Institute invited renowned British travel writer Redmon O’Hanlon to be its guest and speak about his book No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo, which tells the story of O’Hanlon’s most daring jungle jaunt to date: an expedition into the swamp forest of the Congo in search of a …...

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Richard Meier

Making Architecture

The internationally renowned American architect and member of the ‘New York Five’, Richard Meier, spoke at the John Adams Institute in a building designed by the architect himself, The Hague City Hall. The evening formed part of the festive program celebrating the 750th anniversary of The Hague and was opened by Wim Deetman. The Hague …...

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Art Spiegelman


On June 5, 1994, the John Adams Institute hosted an afternoon with writer and cartoonist Art Spiegelman. The event was moderated by Johannes van Dam, Joost Swarte, and Louis Tas. The use of a “comic” to describe the horrors of the Holocaust seems incongruous to say the least. Yet this is precisely what writer and …...

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Stone Roberts

The Ambiguous World of Stone Roberts

On May 9th, 1994, the John Adams Institute hosted an evening with the American realist painter Stone Roberts. He was interviewed by Jorge Guillermo, who authored an essay on Roberts’ work, and by Dutch art historian Stefan van Raay. Examples of Roberts’ work were present during the event. It took five years after finishing his …...

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Michael Tolkin

Among the Dead

On November 30th, 1993, the John Adams Institute hosted author Michael Tolkin. He spoke on is novel Among the Dead, which was translated in Dutch as Onder de Doden. Dutch writer and journalist Jan Donkers moderated the evening. A native of New York and a graduate of Middlebury College, Michael Tolkin wrote feature articles for The Village Voice …...

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Susan Sontag

The Volcano Lover

On November 2, 1993, the John Adams Institute hosted author Susan Sontag, who spoke about her novel The Volcano Lover.  Dutch essayist and sociologist Abram de Swaan moderated the evening. Susan Sontag was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist. Her best known works include On Photography, Against Interpretation, Styles of Radical Will, The …...

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Joseph Brodsky

A Poet in Exile

December 15, 1991 In the lecture series American Literature Today, the John Adams Instituut presented an afternoon and an evening with the Russian/American poet and author Joseph Brodsky. Joseph Brodsky, one of the greatest Russian poets of our time and winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Leningrad in 1940. He …...

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Jay McInerney

The City as a Hero

Jay McInerney is an American author and food critic. On March 7th, 1990, he visited the John Adams Institute for the first time. He lectured on city-wide violence and the extremities of living in the big city. His lecture was introduced by writer and journalist Graa Boomsma, who also interviewed McInerney afterward and moderated the …...

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