Now that March is here and I’m about to get really busy with my own projects I thought it would be nice to share some of the art experiences I had in February.
Feb 2: Went to the opening of Ai Weiwei at Magasin 3. Although it feels like I hear his name every ten seconds I’d never actually seen an exhibition by him, so it was great to finally do that. But I was so surprised by the work, it didn’t at all have the energy I associate him with! Couldn’t quite place the disconnect. The museum has created a great microsite they call a virtual reading room with loads of content which is worth checking out.
Feb 4: Went to the opening of TEJP at Färgfabriken where artists created an interactive climbing structure. It was fun to see kids running around in it, playful and interactive without being pretentious. Reminded me of something Casey would have made last year.
Feb 7: Went to the opening of "A Trip to the Moon" at Bonniers Konsthall, a show about art’s “love affair” with film. The installation was designed by the scenographer at Dramaten, the Swedish Royal Theater, and it shows. I really liked the way they installed this sculpture with a staircase next to it so that you could walk up and observe it from above. There’s also a parallel film program at Cinema Sture which I’m going to this weekend. Christiane Paul is speaking.
Feb 9: Went to the opening of Eija-Liisa Ahtila “Parallel Worlds” at Moderna Museet. Really, really beautiful work. Her videos are super long and impossible to see when you’re elbow-to-elbow with people so I need to get in there again. I’ve had several friends tell me they cried when they watched it, but maybe that speaks more to our need for a curator therapy group than the work itself!
Feb 10: Saw this insane dance performance by Compagnie Marie Chouinard at Dansens Hus where the dancers walked around on crutches and with walkers. Reminded me of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi video, or what a ballet choreographed by Matthew Barney would look like.
Feb 14: Went to Fotografiska and although most of it was bad I somehow got really into Aitor Ortiz's architectural photos. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the photos were installed so that there was a beam of light coming from under the walls and because there was sometimes a strong streak of light in the image it looked like the light was emanating from the photograph itself.
Feb 17: Went to the opening of Uglycute retrospective at Marabouparken. I don’t get design.
Feb 18: Went to the opening of a show my friend Nina curated called "Be with me" at Peter Bergman gallery. I might be biased since I helped her install the show, but it was great. The afterparty was so much fun, and then we all headed to this fantastic sound art installation called freq_out at Moderna Museet which I’ll probably write more about.
Feb 23: Went to a debate at Tensta Konsthall about the future of funding for the arts in Sweden. Entitled “Contemporary Art and its Commercial Markets: A Symposium on Current Conditions and Future Scenarios," it dealt with director Maria Lind’s collaboration with the auction house Bukowski’s, which is owned by the Lundin family who are in the oil business. Sketchy! Should publicy-funded art institutions exhibit with private funding? Sure, but at what cost? At the end, one of the founders of the Swedish Kickstarter-like site crowdculture asked the panel if/how they saw online funding effecting the scene and nobody had enough energy to address him, which was too bad because it merited a whole conversation in and of itself.
Feb 25: Went to the open studios at IASPIS, the Swedish International Art Grants Committee. In his studio, Andjeas Ejiksson hosted a tea party including music, finger sandwiches, and three different types of tea. Really lovely. Ended up talking to an acquaintance about the living conditions of artists in New York, London, Berlin, and Stockholm, and the verity of the stereotype that Swedes are a cold people who take a long time to warm up but when they do they are absolutely wonderful.
Later that evening I found myself at Moderna Museet AGAIN for a Situationist International-inspired evening named after a book they were releasing a Swedish translation of Alla Kungens Hästar (All the King’s Horses) by Jaqueline de Jong, who was married to Guy Debord. Poetry/spoken word by Karl Larsson and Tris Vonna-Michell occurred and there is no better way to describe their pieces than GRYMT.
This past weekend, there was an interesting conference at Stockholm University about authenticity. A sweet older gentleman by the name of Jeremy Hawthorne presented on the significance of the "Hitler reacts" meme, and then some stiff academics talked about lithographs and stuff but who I really went to see was Anna Odell. Odell caused a media outrage in 2009 with her performance Unknown, Woman in which she faked a suicide attempt on Liljeholmsbron. She showed the footage from that notorious night, and it was really interesting to see after hearing so much about it. All I could think about when watching her was how scary her eyes are: big and watery, like she’s constantly on the verge of crying. She talked a little bit about the new project she was working on, but asked the audience members not to write anything about it publicly, so for now my lips are sealed.
Other things that happened in February: I remembered my Twitter existed, got into the show Äkta Människor, Sweden got a #royalbaby and said goodbye to the anchors who tell you what’s coming up next on TV in favor just audio (kind of sad!). But the best part of February by far was discovering swedishproblems, which makes life in this crazy country worth living.