Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reykjavik Arts Festival Opens

May 17 marked the “unofficial” beginning of the summer festivals in Reykjavik when the Reykjavik Arts Festival got off to a great start with a very creative open air performance by the Vessel Orchestra  directed by Lilja Birgisdóttir who also composed the piece commissioned for the event.  Thousands of  spectators stood mesmerized by the harbor on a beautiful summer day as Birgisdóttir directed the horns of four large ships.

“Bang on a Can All Stars” formally opened the concert series

The same evening we were treated to what the New York Times called “A fiercely aggressive group, combining the power and punch of a rock band with the precision and clarity of a chamber ensemble.” The group selected pieces from their “Field Recordings” which blended different styles of music with video and spoken recordings and singing.  It was one of the most amazing evenings of music we have experienced in Iceland and we were delighted to support the participation of this New York-based group.  The audience was thrilled by the experience.

Art = Text = Art -- an American Tour de Force at Hafnarborg

The Festival took us the next day to Hafnarfjördur where we were honored to participate in the opening  of a fabulous collection of more than eighty artworks from nearly fifty artists (mostly American) at Hafnarborg Center.  The works on paper include pieces by iconic American artists such as Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha, Cy Twombly, Sol LeWitt and choreographer Trisha Brown.  The exhibit is the culmination of efforts by Hafnarborg’s Director, Ólöf Sigurdardottir, and the generosity of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky (two great New York patrons of the arts) who lent their collection for this exhibit.  I guarantee that anyone visiting the exhibit will reflect long and hard about the meaning of text in these amazing artworks.