Karin Mamma Andersson at The Nordic Museum

I’ve had the good fortune of seeing the vast majority of artists whose work I admire in person with one exception.

I’ve been wanting to see the work of Karin Mamma Andersson for a long time.

I decided to stop by the new Nordic Museum as I had an appointment in Ballard and realized the museum stays open late on Thursdays (until 8pm).

The current temporary exhibit is Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed.

Their website promises “Olafur Eliasson, Bjarne Melgaard, Jesper Just, Kim Simonsson, and Cajsa Von Zeipel” which I was curious to see. An interesting assortment of current Scandinavian artists. 

Unbeknownst to me though upon turning the corner of the first exhibit room there she was, a pleasant surprise.

Karin Mamma Andersson, Behind the Curtain, 2014

A tiny work, but very much hers. I am not sure if I let out an audible gasp in the gallery as I was so awed to see it.

Behind the Curtain detail

You might ask what is it about her work I like so much? What draws me in?

I get a very specific sense of place from her pieces, a setting I tend to want to be in. They feel like they are coming from a very interior, contemplative point of view. I appreciate she can mine something out of everyday domestic activities that gives you pause. Here are a few of my favorites:

Leftovers, 2006


Corridor, 2007


Flunkey, 2010

Side note – If I was feeling particularly stealth this year, I would fly to Cincinnati this fall as Mamma Andersson has a new exhibit of paintings there in their Contemporary Arts Center in a show titled Memory Banks (October 05, 2018 through February 10, 2019).

Alas, the world has other plans for me.


I hadn’t been to the new Nordic building yet (it just opened in May) which turns out is gorgeous.

FYI – The temporary contemporary exhibit is up through September 16, which means tomorrow is your last chance (the museum is open 10a-5p on Sundays). 

Olafur Eliasson, The Island Series, 1997


Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed installation view


Poul Gernes, Denmark, 1965


Karin Mamma Andersson is a Stockholm based artist, married to painter Jockum Nordström. You can see more of her work at David Zwirner, New York.

Jockum Nordström and Karin Mamma Andersson