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Carnegie Museum of Art Presents Ragnar Kjartansson Song

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh presents Ragnar Kjartansson: Song through September 4, 2011.

Ragnar Kjartansson: Song at Carnegie Museum of Art is Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. In a constantly evolving body of work, Kjartansson plays with notions of myth, cultural history, and identity, often through the lens of music and durational performance, all the while playing sincerity against the inherent artifice of performance. Ritual, repetition, and an almost hallucinogenic reverie share the stage with humor, levity, and a charismatic impulse to entertain. Focusing on the artist’s music-related practice, Ragnar Kjartansson: Song includes six video works as well as a newly commissioned long-duration performance for the museum’s Hall of Sculpture.

Song, a site-specific, three week-long performance conceived for museum’s grand, neoclassical Hall of Sculpture, will take place March 11–27. With guitar and three-part harmony, Kjartansson’s nieces—Ragnheidur Harpa Leifsdóttir, Rakel Mjöll Leifsdóttir, and Íris María Leifsdóttir—will repeatedly perform a song that the artist wrote based on a slightly misremembered phrase from the Allen Ginsberg poem Song. Singing from a large bed-like platform in the middle of the large hall, the nieces will be surrounded by marble, columns, skylight, and the plaster casts of classical sculptures that look down from the balcony.

To be presented in the museum’s lavish, ornate Music Hall, An Evening with Ragnar Kjartansson and Friends on Thursday, March 24, will feature a musical performance by Kjartansson and frequent collaborators Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir and Davíð Þór Jónsson, along with his nieces Ragnheidur, Rakel, and Íris Leifsdóttir. The concert is a collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum and its acclaimed Off the Wall performance series.

The final component to this multi-part exhibition is MARIA CALLAS CONCRETE, on view at The Andy Warhol Museum March 11–May 1. Ragnar Kjartansson and artist Curver Thoroddsen have taken Andy Warhol’s collection of Maria Callas opera recordings and layered them on top of each other to create a wall of sound. The result is an homage, in the avant-garde tradition of musique concrète, to Callas and to Warhol’s status devotion to the opera diva.

Organized by Dan Byers, associate curator of contemporary art, Ragnar Kjartansson: Song, is the 66th installment of the museum’s Forum series, which presents the work of contemporary artists.

MARIA CALLAS CONRETE is organized by Eric Shiner, Acting Director & The Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Andy Warhol Museum, and Ben Harrison, Curator of Performing Arts at The Andy Warhol Museum, with special thanks to Matt Wrbican, Archivist, The Andy Warhol Museum. The original audio recordings are from the Archives of The Andy Warhol Museum, Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Major support for this exhibition is provided by The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art, the Virginia Kaufman Fund, and the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, with presenting sponsorship provided by Rodgers Insurance Group and Motorists Mutual Insurance Company. Additional support is provided by Sandeman Port. Support is also provided by The American-Scandinavian Association.

Image: Ragnar Kjartansson, “Song,” 2011 Publicity still (Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8, Reykavik).

An Evening with Ragnar Kjartansson
and Friends
Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh
Co-presented with The Andy Warhol Museum
Thursday, March 24, 2011, 8:00 p.m.

Ragnar Kjartansson and Curver Thoroddsen
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
March 11–May 1, 2011

The Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080

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