While many galleries and museums are still closed across Europe, Monocle Magazine explores Iceland’s growing art scene amid the pandemic as a part of their radio series, “Monocle on Culture.” Hosted by Robert Bound, this series offers listeners a global digest of music, art, film and media. Tune in here to experience the full radio story, and see below for some of this episode’s highlights!
With the Icelandic Arts Center open and the government’s interest in visual art growing in Iceland, the Icelandic art scene has experienced steady growth amid the pandemic. As a part of the episode, Monocle’s Berlin correspondent Kimberly Bradley had the opportunity to safely visit the land of fire and ice and experience Iceland’s art world first hand.
In the episode, Kimberly describes her excitement seeing local shops and cafes in Reykjavík full of locals due to the country’s low COVID-19 rates. She also discusses her experience visiting the Reykjavik Art Museum. Founded in 1973, the museum is the largest visual art institution in the country and offers visitors a host of works from both established and emerging artists.
Throughout her report, Kimberly chats with various artists, directors and designers, including Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir at the opening of her new show, to talk about Iceland’s art history, future, and how it survived during the pandemic. With a lack of tourists visiting this year, Iceland’s art scene has turned to local audiences for support, where the Icelandic community has rallied around its artists. Both local museum visits and local art collecting have seen a rise, with galleries able to reach new audiences in their own country.
Kimberly also discusses the concept of “artist salary” in Iceland, a government-sponsored program where Icelandic artists can apply for project-based grants, through which they receive project funding as well as a monthly salary to support them throughout their creative process. Open to designers, visual artists, authors, performers, musicians, and composers, this grant demonstrates the country’s commitment to stimulating artistic creativity and providing a basis to enable artists to devote themselves entirely to their calling.
Looking to learn more about the Icelandic art scene? Check out the Icelandic Arts Center website here. And don’t forget to share your favorite part of the episode with us in the comments!