Music & Art Apr 19, 2021

An Intro to the Creative Arts in Iceland

Learn more about Icelandic art, culture, and history with our exclusive series featuring artists and museum directors throughout Iceland.

Celebrate Icelandic art, culture, history and more with our new short video series highlighting the creative arts throughout Iceland, presented by Iceland Naturally and the Icelandic Art Center. Each week from April 22 to May 13, we will release a new episode that highlights different aspects of Icelandic art and features knowledgeable speakers including the Director of the National Gallery of Iceland and the Director of the Reykjavik Art Museum, among many more. 

Art is at the heart of Iceland’s dynamic culture. Throughout history, Icelanders have been regarded as innovative and gifted creators, from sculpture and painting to composing and acting. Keep an eye out for a new episode to appear on this page and on our social media each week!

Episode 1: The Old Masters

In the series’ first episode, Harpa Þórsdóttir, Director of the National Gallery of Iceland, leads the audience on a tour of the historic National Gallery. Founded in 1884, the museum owns the most valuable collection of works by Icelandic artists in the country! The museum’s main emphasis is on 20th and 21st century Icelandic art, but international art is featured as well. During the episode, Þórsdóttir makes note of important paintings in Iceland’s history and discusses the history of Icelandic art masters and their contributions to Icelandic art and culture.

Episode 2: Contemporary 

To provide audiences a glimpse into the future of Icelandic art, the second episode features the contemporary art scene in Iceland. Ólöf K. Sigurðardóttir, Director of the Reykjavík Art Museum, shows some of the museum’s contemporary pieces, interviews contemporary artists, and highlights up and coming artists in the Icelandic art scene. This episode is a must-watch for lovers of contemporary art! 

Episode 3: Episode 3: Artist Run Scene (Disruptions/Rebels)

In the third episode of the series, experience the magic of Nýló (The Living Art Museum), a not-for-profit, artist-run museum and exhibition platform for innovative and experimental contemporary art in Reykjavík, Iceland. Run entirely by artists, The Living Art Museum is committed to presenting, collecting and preserving works by Icelandic and international artists and engaging with the discourse on contemporary art practices. Join Dorothée Kirch, director of the museum, for a discussion of Nýló’s unique history: from its rebellious founding by artists in the seventies as a response to other museums not buying their works to its modern mission of showcasing Icelandic artists.

Episode 4: Export to North America – Galleries in Reykjavik and Their Work Abroad

In this final episode, explore art galleries in Reykjavík and their work in North America. Learn about i8 Gallery, a 25-year-old gallery with artistic representation from 23 Icelandic and international artists. For the past 15 years, the gallery has focused on sharing its art in North America through participation in art fairs such as Armory Show in NY and Art Basel in Miami. In addition, explore BERG Contemporary, a newly established gallery aiming to provide a diversified forum for contemporary art. By representing emerging and established artists, BERG is seeking the resonant tone of the present in new and innovative exhibitions. Located in an old glass factory in Reykjavík, the gallery can also be found internationally.

Panel Discussion – Icelandic Art: Artists and Influences

After you’ve watched all four episodes of the Creative Arts Video Series, check out this panel discussion featuring the curator of the Reykjavík Art Museum!

Let us know which episode is your favorite in the comments below.