Scandinavian artists are bringing color to New York
Elmgreen & Dragset
Dane Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian Ingar Dragset are a well-known duo in the art world. Their revolutionary and humorous art is exciting to look at but also generates discussion about social and cultural constructs. Prada Marfa is their most famous installation, where they constructed a Prada boutique by the roadside on Highway 90 in Texas. The boutique is just a work of art, so the door to the store doesn’t open and there are no sales. Today the pair are based in London and Berlin, but they exhibit various installations all over the world.
Just in time for summer, Elmgreen and Dragset are currently installing a specially made swimming pool weighing 4.5 tonnes outside the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The swimming pool symbolizes Vincent Van Gogh’s ear. It’s a popular rumor in the art world that Van Gogh cut off part of his ear.
Van Gogh’s Ear April 13 – June 3
Rockefeller Center, New York
Norwegian photographer Ole Brodersen uses materials such as polystyrene, canvas, and rope to capture the landscape in an innovative way. He wants to show the forces of nature that are beyond human control.
“Waves, tides, winds, and ocean currents help to determine what the image looks like,” Brodersen says. “The shoot is always planned according to approximate weather conditions, but ultimately it’s nature that controls the outcome.”
Brodersen has always had a close link to the sea, as his father was a sailmaker and his grandfather was a sailor. A few years ago he sailed around the Atlantic Ocean in a 120-year-old pilot boat. This year he has an exhibition in New York called Trespassing.
“It was very nice to be invited to exhibit at Scandinavia House. It’s a serious gallery and it’s even more exciting to know that our Queen Sonja had an exhibition there last year that included Ørnulf Opdahl, whom I have exhibited at my gallery!”
The images displayed in the Trespassing series depict the meeting between artificial objects and unspoiled nature.
When Johan was 14 years old he played the flute on the streets of Malmö so he could save up enough money to visit New York. The city where his step-father’s parents lived and worked with art. After a while, Johan had enough money in his pocket to travel to the city that never sleeps.
“I fell in love with New York! I’ve been living here since 1992, but I travel back home to Sweden and Norway almost every summer.”
Johan’s art consists of fabulous photographs and cool sculptures. One of his most famous series of pictures is “Until the Kingdom Comes”, which portrays the animal and natural kingdoms.
“Three older images from the series are being exhibited at Scandinavia House in New York this spring. They were taken on Iceland and in Skåne.”
Johan’s latest work will be exhibited at the Yossi Milo Gallery, where the public will be able to see exhibits such as a picture of the moon, two ceramic sculptures, and a composition that switches between bright light and dark shadows.
Simen Johan May 26 – August 10
Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Large canvases, brushes, and wonderful colors are the tools 25-year-old Larsson uses when painting her pictures. Often they depict the faces of beautiful women with strong facial expressions. Larsson moved to New York after high school to enroll in art school.
“I’d been to New York before and took a summer course in design and I fell in love with the city straight away. But when you move here, life quickly becomes very real. The first place I lived I had 7 roommates plus some mice.”
Now Larsson is an established name on the art scene and has previously held exhibitions in places such as Gothenburg, Stockholm, Miami, and New York. This year she has changed direction and found new methods, and she’s very excited about her new work, which is more abstract than what she has done before. Larsson can see differences between exhibiting her art in New York and in her native Sweden.
“The scope is a big difference; it feels like I can reach out to more people here. Then there’s also a big difference in the number of talented artists who are trying to show their art. It doesn’t do to be shy in New York!”
Sundblad lives and breathes art. Her résumé boasts many previous exhibitions, installations, and collaborations with artists all over the world. When she’s not working on her art, she’s busy performing at various events with her singing and music.
Her art is known for being a bit out there. In her earlier works she used lines such as “En slemmig torsk i en brödrost” (A slimy cod in a toaster) which is the title of a song by Swedish 80s punk band KSMB. The aim was to convey her relationship with punk as a teenager and also her Swedish roots. Another work may have been drawn using eyeliner.
The Algus Greenspon Gallery in New York represents Sundblad’s artistic ideas. In 2016, you will be able to take in her new exhibitions and musical performances at Sundblad’s own gallery, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, at Algus Greenspon, and in other parts of the world.
How to DISappear in America: The Musical April 3–17
Reena Spaulings, East Broadway, New York
Text: Agnes Sundblad Elverfors
Published: May 23, 2020