THE BELIEVER: How would you say your experience of gallery openings in New York differs from Iceland?
RAGNAR KJARTANSSON: There is less booze in New York openings.
In openings in Iceland everybody gets fucking pissed. There’s more liquor, more of a party atmosphere, because it’s just a village. A good part about growing up in the art scene in Iceland is there’s no ladder-moving-up in the art world and blah, blah, blah. You just do your stuff and people are like, “Oh, it’s good.” Or they don’t care.
The healthy part about coming from Iceland is that you don’t care so much about your career. What I’m worried about is making a decent art piece that I’m happy with. And, mostly, that other people are going to get something out of it. And it’s totally a weird luxury to be in a good gallery in New York. It’s like saying, “I’m in the CIA.” You get a little bit of respect.
I always think somebody’s bound to find out soon that it’s all a big misunderstanding. Do you know what I mean? It’s like “Emperor’s New Clothes.” I think that every artist feels that he’s a bit of a fake. I saw an interview with Stanley Kubrick’s wife and she said the great director was always like, “They’re going to find out soon, they’re going to find out soon.” I was glad Stanley Kubrick felt like that. It’s healthy to feel like that: They’re going to find out soon it’s a big misunderstanding.
(via 1000 reasons not to start making art)