On View

‘Ragnar Kjartansson: Me, My Mother, My Father, and I’ at the New Museum

Exhibition view. (Photo Benoit Pailley/New Museum)

If irony is the antithesis of sincerity, Ragnar Kjartansson might represent their synthesis. A black-and-white photo of the artist at the age of 14, taken on the occasion of his confirmation, hangs alone on the wall that meets a visitor emerging from the New Museum’s elevators into Mr. Kjartansson’s current exhibition there, “Me, My Mother, My Father, and I.” Over and around this wall, 10 voices arranged in multipart polyphony by Kjartan Sveinsson (formerly of the Icelandic pop band Sigur Rós) come singing, while in the photo, young Master Kjartansson, sitting between his father and mother, thoughtfully waits it out with eyebrows raised and eyes downcast. The parents, Kjartan Ragnarsson and Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, were costars in Iceland’s first feature film, Morðsaga (Murder Story, 1977), and Mr. Kjartansson—or so he was told, or so he tells us he was told—was conceived during shooting in May 1975. Read More


Show Extensions! ‘Frozen Lakes’ at Artists Space and Ragnar Kjartansson at Luhring Augustine Live On

Installation view of Metahaven's 'Transparent Camouflage' (2013) at Artists Space. (Courtesy the artists and Artists Space)

A bit of exciting news this Monday morning: two very fine shows have received extensions to their runs. Ragnar Kjartansson’s nine-screen video piece at Luhring Augustine, “The Visitors,” now runs through this Saturday, March 23 (it had been scheduled to close March 16), and Artists Space’s rich and captivating “Pictures” update, “Frozen Lakes,” will now close Sunday, March 31. Read More

On View

‘Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors’ at Luhring Augustine

4 Photos

Still from Ragnar Kjartansson's The Visitors, 2012

The wily Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson spends most of his time on screen in his new film, The Visitors (2012), naked in a bathtub, holding an acoustic guitar. Sometimes he strums and sings. “Stars explode all around you / but there’s nothing you can do,” he croons, over and over. On eight more screens arrayed around the gallery, musicians—a drummer, a pianist, a guitarist and more—located in other rooms of a sprawling old house in upstate New York, join him. A large chorus is perched on a porch outside. Read More

art basel miami beach 2012

Ragnar Kjartansson’s 12-Hour ‘Bliss’ Will Screen at Art Basel Miami Beach


Art Basel Miami Beach announced the lineup for its Art Video Nights program, which will showcase 60 films and videos on a 7,000-square-foot projection wall outside the New World Center. There will be work by artists Julieta Aranda, Guy Ben-Ner, Daniel Arsham, Theaster Gates, Jesper Just, Mauricio Lupini, Rashaad Newsome, Ryan McGinley, Robin Rhode, Sam Samore, Adam Shecter and Hu Xiangqian. Read More


Watch Ragnar Kjartansson’s Live Performance at Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Kjartansson. (Courtesy Performa)

Below you’ll find a live video stream for Ragnar Kjartansson’s opening night performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, which is holding the artist’s first solo American museum exhibition, “Song.” The performance, of Mr. Kjartansson’s recent work Du Holde Kunstis, is being streamed live via the museum’s website, who were kind enough to share it with us. The performance goes live around 7:15 p.m. or a bit after. Read More


Ragnar Kjartansson to Tackle Schubert for Next Performance

Mr. Kjartannson in "Bliss." Courtesy Art Fag City.

For the 15th anniversary of North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson will follow-up his 2011 Performa biennial commission, Bliss, with Du Holde Kunst. The artist will sing “a slow and repetitive version of Franz Schubert’s ‘An Die Musik’ accompanied by a pianist, brass quartet, harp, timpani, large crash cymbal, and showgirls with big feather fans,” according to a press release. Read More

Performa 11

Running for Hours, Guido van der Werve Visits Rachmaninoff’s Grave

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The grave, becked with chamomile flowers.

“Should I give the benediction?” gallerist Roland Augustine asked the nine of us who had gathered on Saturday morning, Nov. 12, outside Luhring Augustine, the Chelsea gallery he runs with Lawrence Luhring. He laughed. “On your mark. Get set. Go!” We bounded east on 23rd Street, carrying a thin bouquet of chamomile flowers in our hands, high-fiving Mr. Luhring down the block, and then, following Dutch artist Guido van der Werve, turned left on Sixth Avenue, toward Central Park.

Mr. van der Werve, 34, outfitted in a black shirt, shorts and knee-high compression socks, was leading us to the grave of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, in Valhalla, New York, a 30-mile trek, for his Performa 11 work. (Chamomiles are Russia’s native flower.) The last time we ran more than 10 miles was about a year ago, and as we ran we realized that trying to participate was a very poor decision. Read More

Performa 11

Ragnar Kjartansson’s 12-Hour Performance Blissfully Leaves Mozart on Repeat


Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance Bliss had reached the halfway point and the actors were tired. They had been singing the final aria of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro–about four lines and two minutes of music–for six hours and they had six more to go. A conductor stood at the foot of the stage, instructing the 11 actors and 15-piece orchestra with exaggerated movements, thrashing his entire body and flailing his arms high in the air. He was drinking from a glass of red wine. “During the 12 hours,” the program thankfully said, “the audience is welcome to wander in and out of the performance.” Read More