The Icelandic artist had an exhibition at the D.C. museum last year.


Acquisitions News

Hirshhorn Acquires Ragnar Kjartansson’s ‘Me and My Mother,’ Work by Shirin Neshat, Deb Sokolow

A still from Me and My Mother, an ongoing video project by Ragnar Kjartanssen.


It’s been nearly a year since the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., opened what was then the first major museum survey of work by the artist Ragnar Kjartansson. And now, the institution has announced that it has acquired one of that show’s best pieces, the full series of Me and My Mother, an ongoing suite of videos that the artist has made every five years since 2000. It consists of footage of a fairly weird, if endearing, father-mother interaction.

From the press release:

“Me and My Mother” began in 2000 while Kjartansson was still a student, and it is based upon a simple premise—every five years, Kjartansson invites his mother, the well-known Icelandic actress Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, to spit on him. Mother and son stand side-by-side in her living room facing a fixed-point camera. Periodically and repeatedly, Kjartansson’s mother turns and spits into his face with dramatic gusto. 

It’s really a treat.

The museum acquired in total 18 new works, including offerings by Hurvin Anderson, Aaron Garber-Maikovska, General Idea, Zhang Huan, Annette Lemieux, Shirin Neshat, Deb Sokolow, and Mika Tajima.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the show while it was up in the nation’s capital, revisit the story I wrote last year previewing the show. After a rollicking tour led by the museum’s curators and the artist, I ended up tagging along with Kjartanssen and his crew of friends from Iceland as they treated D.C. collectors to challenging Nordic fare, and embarked on a vigorous bar crawl in the shadow of the White House.

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