Ragnar Kjartansson: Song

Ragnar Kjartansson Carnegie

The new Ragnar Kjartansson exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art kicks off this Thursday night, the 10th, at the Culture Club series. The event also marks the start of two upcoming weeks of live performance by the artist himself. And on March 24th, A one-night-only, vaudeville-style concert starring the artist, members of his family and his friends. I’m definitely going to have to get down there and check this out. If you don’t know Kjartansson, you should. (To get acquainted, here’s a good article on the artist I found from 2009.) The video installation runs through September, but Ragnar himself is only through the 24th of March.

More about the event from the Carnegie:

“Ragnar Kjartansson: Song is the first solo US museum exhibition of the work of Ragnar Kjartansson. A musician as well as artist, Kjartansson (b. 1976) has been drawn to the theater and performance since he formed a band in his teenage years. The exhibition will include a selection of video works from the last decade as well as a newly created three-week-long performance for the museum’s Hall of Sculpture. Kjartansson’s videos reflect an interest in music and theater and the personae of its performers, often coupled with extreme environments. The End (2008) features two musicians in a mountainous snowy landscape, while Satan is Real (2005) finds the naked artist buried to his chest in the lawn of a public park, playing a guitar.

In addition to his video work, Kjartansson has become known for inhabiting galleries and more unexpected locations where he performs live, often for extended periods. For the 2009 Venice Biennale, he painted portraits of his friend, day in and day out, for six months, in a crumbling palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal. The ornate stone room was eventually filled with hundreds of oil paintings and the aggregate ephemera of days spent in each other’s company. A “social sculpture” emerged from the accumulation of painting, palazzo, friends, trash, musical instruments, and exhibition visitors watching the artist and subject at work.

Kjartansson’s approach wavers between a besotted optimism and a deadpan, sometimes unnerving, directness. Ritual, repetition, and an almost hallucinogenic reverie share the stage with humor, levity, and a charismatic impulse to entertain.”

For more on the event, and to order tickets for the show on the 24th, click here.

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