Two artists initiatives, The Living Art Museum and Kling Og Bang gallery and Ólafur Elíasson studios are moving in together into the window fortress of the Marshall house (Marshall húsið) right on the harbor in the center of Reykjavík.
This is big news in the Icelandic arts scene, with housing and rent prices scouring in the last few years, artists and creative initiatives are finding it ever harder to survive and are essentially being driven out of the center of Reykjavik. The City counsel approved the proposition to help fund the undertaking formally last week so the dream is henceforth a reality in the making after two years of talking and pondering in cahoots with the City. Mayor Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson was happy with the result stating that we are going to see an exciting new house of art and culture rise in Reykjavík.
The concept of the Marshall house comes from architect Ásmundur Hrafn Sturluson and designer Steinþór Kári Kárason. The Marshall house draws its name from the post war assistance given to Icelanders by the US army, the Marshall aid. The construction of the house started in 1948 and it served as a herring factory for half a decade but the house has stood vacant for many years. Fishing Industry giant HB Grandi is the landlord and CEO Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson has also declared that he is looking forward to seeing the house come to life.
The house it self is a striking testament of post war architecture, with the facade covered in huge glass windows. A restaurant will be situated on the ground floor, the Living Art Museun, an artist run museum and exhibition space founded in 1978 will occupy the first floor with exhibitions and events, leaving the collection and preservation in their current address in the suburb of Breiðholt. Initiative Kling Og Bang, currently homeless, will take over the second floor with their operations, an artist run gallery founded by ten artists in 2003. And artist Ólafur Elíasson will occupy the side wing and top floor for display rooms and a studio, adding to his operations in Copenhagen and Berlin.