PRINT May 1998

Northern Lights

artists in residence

The Swedish Art Grant Committee has named curator and critic Daniel Birnbaum director of the International Artists’ Studio Program in Sweden (IASPIS). Birnbaum, a regular contributor to Artforum, succeeds Sune Nordgren, who will become director of Baltic Flour Mills, the exhibition center being established in Newcastle, England.

Appointed for a three-year term, Birnbaum will oversee a program that began providing studio grants to artists and organizing exhibitions last year. IASPIS is housed in the Royal Swedish Art Academy, an allegedly haunted seventeenth-century landmark in central Stockholm that has inspired several novels and a piece by artist Spencer Finch, one of IASPIS’ first participants. The program sponsors ten resident artists at a time, each of whom receives a $1,250 monthly stipend and an apartment in the city. Birnbaum plans to keep mixing Swedes and visitors, emerging and established artists (residents this year include, William Kentridge and Michael Joo), while looking to draw talent from outside the traditional art centers.

IASPIS aims to fill niches left by museums. “Small, hybrid institutions like IASPIS are right for our times,” Birnbaum says. “I’m not interested in enormous exhibitions that need years of planning.” With a budget of $1.4 million, Birnbaum foresees shows in Stockholm and in Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Berlin. IASPIS' mission includes programs like What’s Going On?, a lecture series that has brought in critics such as Jan Avgikos (US) and Nicolas Bourriaud (France). “What the art scene has been missing is an institution that provides seminars and workshops. IASPIS can make Stockholm a much more interesting place for artists.”