A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015
Culture
Art
More Money than You’ll Ever See Again

More Money than You’ll Ever See Again

Published February 11, 2005

The reason for the curator being stripped of her powers to open museum doors is not due to a demotion on her part, but rather to the fact that inside are considerable valuables. The valuables are neither portraits of halfsmiling Italian chicks, screaming Norwegians or marble statues of Michael Jackson and Bubbles, but 100 hundred million krónur in cold, hard cash.
Warriors of the Wallet
The cash is part of an exhibition called Warriors of the Heart by Iranian-born American artist Ashkan Sahih, and bears the subtitle “100 Million in Ready Cash and Tibetan Chanting.” If nothing else, it lives up to its name. The cash is kept in glass display cases in various amounts, in total adding up to the titular round figure. The chanting is a playback tape, and there is also plate with incense on the floor.
But that is not all there is to it. As the curator goes off to curate, I am left alone in one of the two rooms constituting the exhibition. But not for long. Sigurður, one of the two security guards, comes in unarmed, but with a disarming smile, and offers me a guided tour. Who am I to refuse?
He tells me that he has guarded both banks and museums before, but this is one of the tightest operations he’s ever run. In fact, most banks don’t have as much money in their vaults as there is here. As he points out, with all the plastic going round these days, it’s rare for huge sums of cash money to be kept in any one place at any one time. Some of it was lent by the Central Bank of Iceland, but not all of it. As yet, they haven’t disclosed where the rest of the dough came from. Some of it is freshly printed, but quite a few of the batches are in unmarked bills. This, surely, makes the temptation all the greater.
Money is more tempting than art
“It is more tempting to steal piles of money than works of art which it would be hard to resell,” says Sigurður, “but Akureyri is one of the few places where you could have an exhibition like this. Everyone knows everyone, and it’s hard to disappear into the crowd. Down south, they have more people, and more drug problems.” Down south is what Akureyrians tend to call Reykvikians.
Drugs are in fact another part of the exhibition. On the wall, pictures of persons in various states of intoxication stare with varying degrees of lucidity at the loot. These are not your usual collection of creatures of the night, but normal people (whatever that means) on their first high. “None of them got addicted,” Sigurður explains, “it was all regulated by doctors.”
Who is to judge?
There is one more room, hidden behind curtains, and easily missed by guests not enjoying the expert guidance of Sigurður. Inside is a row of hospital beds. “No matter how much money we have, some things are unavoidable for everyone, such as death,” Sigurður says. In a small room leading in from the beds is another, with a wheelchair and a television showing a program about how to paint. Money withers, life withers, perhaps art is the only thing that’s truly eternal.
All the works in the exhibition are for sale. The price for a batch of money is the displayed amount plus 25%. The case is included. But is money on display a work of art? Is it a satirical comment on our obsessions, a postmodern take on the real values in the art world or simply a shortcut to selling out? “Whether this is art or not is not for us to decide,” says Sigurður. We leave that, dear reader, to you.



Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Microphonic Body Machine

by

Ekeberg Park, Oslo: The September sun reflects in yellow leaves. Angela Rawlings and her colleagues reach the centre of the posh sculpture-park: a forest of glass. The walls capture, care for, and feed back the voice of Angela and a partner in crime, Elfi Sverdrup, transforming a gentle acoustic test into what Angela herself calls “an unanticipated partnership.” And what a partner Angela makes; the 2001 recipient of the bpNichol Award for Distinction in Writing, an award winning poet, a much sought after arts educator; of creative writing, ballroom-, swing-, and salsa dancing—and a producer of festivals, magazines, magical soundworks, plus so

Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Dancers In The Dark

by

A funky bassline is bumping out of KEX Hostel as I walk up to its patio. As I pass the window, I hear the horns and lyrics of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope.” I picture her smooth moves in the song’s music video and I already feel like dancing. Once inside, I duck quickly through the door into Gym & Tonic, trying to let in as little light as possible in the process. No lights, no lycra, no lies: it is pitch black when the door closes. (I can’t actually confirm that there is no spandex, but I certainly can’t see any.)

Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Breathing Life Into Arts Education

by

With university becoming more expensive in many parts of the world, mainstream education tends to lean towards the former, feeding the idea that higher qualifications should serve first and foremost as a path to economic security rather than to an enlightened viewpoint. The “university experience” has come to mean both a kind of holiday camp for young adults to begin establishing themselves away from their family, and a programme of economically motivated and vocational-minded learning. Education, cast in such stark terms, can be seen as an investment to be weighed against future earning potential. Of course, not everyone sees it

Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Pop Vomit

by

On the wall of a dark room in Reykjavík’s Hafnarhusið art museum, a stream of brightly coloured icons is fizzing out of the ground. Triggered by the tiniest sound, they erupt onto the wall at every footstep or word, tumbling into a huge pile and bobbing around like Pop Art Cheerios. Some are familiar, some are less so–classic cartoon characters wobble around alongside unfamiliar product logos and Chinese lettering. “This idea originated in Singapore,” says Mojoko, a.k.a. Steve Lawler, who works with programmer Shang Liang on the project. “It was designed for a children’s exhibition at a museum. We were

Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Banksy In Iceland?

by

Banksy may have been to Iceland. A while ago. And he may have left a mark or two. This has not been verified, but whoever did the stencil accompanying this article would in any case surely acknowledge being under the distinguished anonymous British street-artist’s influence. We will leave it up to readers to figure out exactly where this is. The photo was taken by Claudia Regina, in 2012. Apparently, one Graham Lloyd also spotted the piece in 2012. Locals seem to have discovered the artwork more recently, as images shot this summer have started circulating on social media. Also in

Culture
Art
<?php the_title(); ?>

Urbanization On Paper: A European Narrative

by

Spark Design Space has a clean minimalist facade, a welcome place to rest your eyes next to the garishly painted corrugated tin front of its neighbour Kiki. The large glass windows show the dozens of posters tiled on the back walls of the building, each in a different colour and arranged to make a gradient from purple to red to orange to green in more subtle counterpoint to Kiki’s unsubtle rainbow. The posters are Paolo Gianfrancesco’s print show `Urban Shape,’ up now until September 26. Each one is a map of a different European capital, derived from the open source

Show Me More!