Icelandic Art Center
Icelandic Art Center
17. 01 2014
TALK Series, Nicolaus Schafhausen

TALK Series: Nicolaus Schafhausen

Tuesday 21 January 8 p.m.

Reykjavík Art Museum, Hafnarhús


Nicolaus Schafhausen, director of the Kunsthalle Wien in Austria, is the first participant in this winter’s TALK Series. Schafhausen’s lecture, entitled “Intelligent Entertainment on the Rise”, will deal with issues that contemporary art institutions are facing today.


“Intelligent Entertainment on the Rise”

Art has been in the media’s spotlight more recently, does this focus have an influence on the work of artists and curators? What unifies the contemporary over the last twenty-five years? Is art political per se?


The above questions play a central role in Schafhausen’s practice as a curator. Recently, he organized the ten-day festival “What Would Thomas Bernhard Do” at Kunsthalle Wien. The festival was dedicated to the central issues of our society, which was followed by the group exhibition “Salon der Angst”. Engaging with the diffuse term angst, the exhibition took the perspective of contemporary art and linked it with selected historical positions. In October 2013 Brigitte Oetker and Schafhausen published the 60th Jahresring: Jahrbuch für moderne Kunst entitled “Attention Economy”, which takes the form of a compilation of artist interviews. Here Schafhausen put a series of questions to thirty-one art practitioners, less geared toward each artist’s own praxis and more toward the conditions under which it arises.


Nicolaus Schafhausen is the director of the Kunsthalle Wien. He studied art history in Berlin and Munich and worked as an artist before starting his career as a curator. He served as artistic director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, and as director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein. He was a curator at the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art in Helsinki (NIFCA) and the founding director of the European Kunsthalle. From 2006 to 2012 he headed the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.

Schafhausen was the curator of the German Pavilion for the 52nd and the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2009. He was the curator of international festivals and exhibition, among others for the “Media City Seoul 2010” and the Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

Since 2011 Schafhausen is the strategic director of Fogo Island Arts an initiative of the Canadian Shorefast Foundation. In Cooperation with the Kunsthalle Wien he is the curator of the Bucharest Biennale 2014 (BB6). In addition to Schafhausen’s extensive experience in leading institutions and curating exhibitions, he is author and editor of numerous publications on contemporary art. Schafhausen is Visiting Lecturer at HISK, Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Gent.


Under the title TALK Series, Reykjavik Art Museum, Icelandic Art Center and the Iceland Academy of the Arts initiated a collaborative visitor program in 2012, offering a platform for continual professional- and international encounters to take place in Iceland. Comprising visits by leading figures in the visual arts, this program initiative brings to the Icelandic art community, as well as to the public at large, the burgeoning ideas and diverse practices that define the terms and shape the dialogue within the contemporary international art scene.


The lecture takes place in English, is open to everyone and free of charge.

TALK Series is generously supported by the Goethe Institute, The American Embassy in Iceland and Promote Iceland.