John Baldessari is a revered conceptual artist who has inspired dozens of other big names. Now, his touch will be felt all the way here in Iceland at the opening of Nýló’s exhibition ‘Being Boring’ on Friday, April 8. Three students from the Iceland Academy of the Arts (Listaháskóli) will be recreating his classic 1971 piece ‘I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art,’ in which he asked students at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to write the titular phrase endlessly on the gallery walls. This performance will begin at the opening, which starts at 20:00, and will continue for the duration of the show.
The exhibition as a whole will touch on the theme of boredom, a feeling familiar to just about everyone. If you’ve ever spent hours endlessly refreshing your Instagram feed or scrolling again and again over the same stories on Facebook, you’ve felt that dreaded boredom that seems so inescapable. The artists whose work is a part of this show have forced themselves to reject the endless scrolling, and to be productive in the face of it.
The title itself implies that boredom is crucial to the act of making art. It comes from a quote by Zelda Fitzgerald’s in her 1922 essay “Eulogy on the Flapper”: “She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.” The works on display are the result of this refusal, the product of people staring down that boredom and turning it into art. In addition to John Baldessari’s work, the works of Phil Coy, Lucy Clout, Emma Hart, William Hunt, Sam Porritt and Peter Wächtler will also be a part of the exhibition, which is curated by Gareth Bell-Jones and Gemma Lloyd.
So if you can tear yourself away from your boring Instagram feed which still hasn’t changed since you checked it for the twentieth time five minutes ago, you should go experience some curated boredom at Nýló’s project space Núllið. The show runs until May 1.