2005 Posts

Editorial: A Market to Match the Art

Jon Proppe

Editorial: A Market to
Match the Art

“… selling on their own, pushing their work and haggling over prices …”

While Icelandic businesses have raided European retail, air travel and property markets and been criticised lately for their rapid expansion, Icelandic artists have been welcomed in galleries and museums around the world. The number of them that exhibit regularly outside Iceland has grown from just a handful to more than we can count in just a decade or two. This is of course necessary if Iceland is to enjoy a lively and innovating art scene itself as the size of the Icelandic population severely limits the number of artists who can work and sustain themselves without seeking audiences – and buyers – abroad.

Whether it be the small population or something else, Iceland has never developed an art market in line with the system used in neighbouring countries to bring art to buyers. With rare exceptions, galleries have been weak and in the end, artists have done most of the selling on their own, pushing their work and haggling over prices which most find understandably distasteful and akward. Despite the explosion in the Reykjavik art scene – and the new-found wealth of our international business raiders – the market has been slow to respond. This can definitely be blamed on the lack of a proper infrastructure of galleries and agents but there have also been repeated calls for legislation that would reward buyers and supporters of the arts with tax relief and similar incentives – so far without result. The success that artists enjoy abroad is also slow to filter back and influence prices at home, meaning that the home market for some artists dries up as their success elsewhere drives up the price of their work.

All this is surely worthy of more study and an important start has been made by professor Agust Einarsson’s new book on The Economic Impact of Music which takes stock of the social and economic effects of the rapidly growing music sector in Iceland; such a book on art would be an invaluable foundation on which to build a market that would do justice to the work our artists produce and make owning it easier for all of us.

 


LIST Icelandic Art News. Page last updated 9 April 2006. Texts and images copyright © by the authors. For inquiries and contact information see about us.

LIST is Reborn in the New Year

LIST is Reborn in the New Year

Editorial

As promised in our last issue, LIST Icelandic art news is now being relaunched with a new and clearer design and gradually expanding content. The concept of the journal has developed with the success of the first few months since the founding of CIA.IS – Center for Icelandic Art. The need for easily accessible information and news in English is clear and the interest in all aspects of Icelandic art is high, with curators, journalists and artists from around the world turning to CIA.IS for assistance and guidance in learning about and approaching Icelandic artists. This leads to new opportunities for the artists and opens up the creative range of Iceland’s visual arts to a wider international public.


List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland’s museums and artists’ organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues – or you want to contact us for any other reason – please send a mail to list@cia.is.

Editorial

Editorial 

As always, there are various changes taking place in the Icelandic art world, and we are now seeing the end of the grand collective KlinK & BanK, which we have written about in earlier issues. The Kling & Bang gallery will continue its operations, but for the last year and a half they have also led a group of more than one hundred artists who had been allotted temporary studios and exhibition spaces in a disused factory building in downtown Reykjavík. This prime real estate has now been approved for redevelopment by the city authorities and will be demolished by its owners to make way for new housing. While the artists worked there, the factory became a veritable powerhouse of creative energy and spirit and hosted concerts and exhibitions by numerous artists and performers, including an extravaganza by Christoph Schlingensief as part of this summer’s Reykjavík Arts Festival. This will also be the last issue of our LIST online magazine in the current format. We aim to expand the magazine and publish it bimonthly from now on and to release a special edition in print once a year. Subscribers will receive further notice of this in due time.


List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland’s museums and artists’ organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues – or you want to contact us for any other reason – please send a mail to list@cia.is.

Editorial

Editorial

CHRISTIAN SCHOEN

Berlin! The German capital suffers a depression. Shortly after the elections there is now a political vacuum in Germany. Will this effect the Berlin art autumn? However, for ten days beginning in the last week of September, the German capital will be in the hands of the visual art scene. More than forty Icelandic artists, musicians and performers will invade various venues during the days and nights following the 28th of September. One of these will be Egill Sæbjörnsson, who is being introduced in this issue. He will present one installation and will perform with his band in several places. While the future of KlinK & BanK in Reykjavík is uncertain, a large group of this artist-run experimental space is travelling to Berlin to show, perform and play mainly at Berliner Liste. LIST looks behind the curtain and introduces the phenomenon that is KlinK & BanK. In the first part of the interview with Steina Vasulka, she said that “being an Icelander is an incurable disease”. With the second part we publish here, we concentrate more on her artistic approach. Could you imagine why Jimmy Hendrix should be responsible for Steina working with video? The Reykjavík Art Museum is Iceland’s largest art institution, though its mission has always been less certain than that of the National Gallery, charged with assembling and hosting a representative collection of Iceland’s visual arts. Its director, appointed for a limited term, is by default one of the most influential people in the Icelandic art world and a new one has just started work this month. His name is Hafþór Yngvason. LIST wishes him all the best in his new job and good luck for all the artists who will take part in the exciting art autumn in Berlin!


List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland’s museums and artists’ organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues – or you want to contact us for any other reason – please send a mail to list@cia.is.

Summer Gone?

Summer Gone?

The summer is almost gone, and museums in Iceland are preparing for the new season after the extended extravaganza of the Reykjavík Arts Festival that focused for the first time on the visual arts.

It has been a busy time at the Center for Icelandic Art, and its reception in the first months of operation bode well for the future. As artists and other art professionals return from their vacations we will be hard-pressed to keep up with the stream of exhibitions, here in Iceland and abroad. Artists here—and their ever-expanding circle of friends and collaborators around the world—should keep us informed of their activities and we, in turn, will seek to tell our readers what’s what and help them sort out the details.

In this fourth issue of LIST we introduce three Icelandic artists, including Steina Vasulka, who has also favored us with an interview in which we explore her long career at the forefront of film and video art, here in Iceland and in the United States, where she has lived since the 1960s with her husband and collaborator, Woody Vasulka. The first part of the interview is released here with the second half due in next month’s issue.

Also included is the first part of a series of articles detailing the involvement of artists in urban planning in Reykjavík and the history and extent of public art in the city. We also anticipate the planned Icelandic invasion in Berlin, accompanying the 10th Art Forum, where a contingent from KlinK & BanK will represent their 140-strong collective in Reykjavík along with other Icelanders, including Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, returning from her successful exhibition at the Venice Biennale.


List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland’s museums and artists’ organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues – or you want to contact us for any other reason – please send a mail to list@cia.is.