Phoenix Art Museum presents the Southwestern US premiere of work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976) in Ragnar Kjartansson: Scandinavian Pain & Other Myths. From November 3, 2018, through April 14, 2019, in the Ellen and Howard C. Katz Wing for Modern Art, guests can experience three multisensory works by the artist that explore themes of identity, melancholia, repetition, and popular culture. Known for the performative aspects of his art, Kjartansson has displayed his works in renowned museums around the world, including the Migros Museum in Switzerland, The Guggenheim in New York City, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Phoenix Art Museum becomes one of only ten American museums to welcome the addition of The Visitors to their collection.
Kjartansson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. Growing up, his mother was an actress and his father was a director and playwright. This theater-centric upbringing would later inform his artistic practice as he experimented with durational and repetitive performance pieces, attempting to discover new meaning in the simplest of words and actions through reiteration and time progression.