Some Favourites
10.01.2020 – 23.02.2020

Opening 10.01.2020 at 5–7 pm

Douwe Jan Bakker, G.Erla – Guðrún Erla Geirsdóttir, Mihael Milunović, Rúrí

The collection of the Living Art Museum is somewhat mythological. Depending on who you ask, it might be considered home to some of the rarest treasures of Icelandic contemporary art, the youthful mistakes of some of the nation’s most beloved contemporary artists or bulky artworks that artists couldn’t be bothered to retrieve after their exhibitions in the museum. But as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Nýló dutifully preserves and prizes its collection.


The tasks of the Living Art Museum’s collection manager are certainly as demanding as they are diverse. The collection is frequently visited by curators who have requested to view an artwork for an upcoming exhibition of theirs. Upon seeing the work their reaction is often: “Oh, it looks like that?” The image they had of the artwork in their mind and the part it played in their curatorial concept doesn’t correlate to the experience of viewing it in person.

And then what? What is the fate of these artworks? Some of them are truly exceptional but never travel further than from storage to inspection area and then back. The reasons for their dismissal are usually size, being either larger or smaller than imagined, or the logistics involved in preparing them for the exhibition such as framing, conservation or complex transport needs. It’s also usually the same small number of artworks that are requested by curators and subsequently disappoint them. Slowly a bond with these works is developed.


This exhibition creates the space for some of these works to be put on view without the pressure of fitting into an elaborate curatorial concept, without being cast in the role of telling the overtold narrative of the dismal condition of the Living Art Museum collection and without being forced into dialogue with the other works in the show. That dialogue is still possible with museum visitors, who will bring their own perspectives, but first and foremost, the artworks are here on their own terms and with their own agency. The only framework that joins them together is in their role as some of the current collection manager’s favourites.

Curator: Birkir Karlsson

Image: Mihael Milunovic – Part of Mobile (War, Plague, Hunger, Hate, Death), 1999