You are a long-time KWAG member – why is it important for you to personally support the Gallery?
Art, music, books: since I was a kid they’ve nurtured my imagination, challenged my intellect, and stirred my soul. Now more than ever we have a responsibility to acknowledge and sustain the irreplaceable role of the arts and humanities in a healthy and generous society. I support institutions – KWAG as well as the KW Symphony – that generate communities of support for artistic creativity.
You are on sabbatical this year – what have you got planned?
I’m drawing on my 30 years of ethnographic fieldwork in Iceland to write about the cultural politics of environmentalism: from heated debates over whale hunting and hydroelectric development for foreign heavy industry, to the damage caused by the rapid rise of intensive tourism. Part of that work has involved exploring Icelandic nature through the visual arts and music.
What would you tell someone about the Gallery if they had never been before?
There’s more going on at KWAG than you think! Art classes for all ages, community-building events for citizens new and old, and art exhibits in a meditative space that mysteriously revive and inspire your spirit. And entry is free!
Which KWAG exhibition has had the biggest impact on you? Why?
Just one? Two recent exhibits by Kent Monkman and Edward Burtynsky stand out for how they engage with politics and power without being preachy and without compromising aesthetic invention or visual allure.
If you could have an artist, living or dead, over for dinner, who would you choose and what would you serve?
American minimalist and writer Roni Horn. Horn’s photography and installations are deeply shaped by her decades of engagement with the Icelandic countryside. I love her elemental aesthetic. The meal would be classically Icelandic, with gravlax, smoked lamb, caramelized potatoes, peas, and red cabbage. I’m not a fan of Icelandic schnapps so to drink, we’d share a Mourvedre from the south of France.