I cried. Thank you Ragnar Kjartansson- The Visitors

Lori Zimmer
Mar 3, 2013 6:08AM

From Art Nerd New York

Pretty much everyone knows I love art (ie self-proclaimed “Art Nerd”… which I double up by constantly carrying an Art Nerd tote and wearing a pin on my lapel)… But truth be told, I am pretty critical (read: easily unimpressed) and while pieces I love make me smile, it is an extremely rare occasion that they drive me to weep (in a good way). In fact, I think the only time I became verklempt over art was when I finally saw Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights at the Prado last summer.

That said, I cried at a Luhring Augustine the other day. Then, to be sure I wasn’t just hormonal, I went back a few days later…and teared up again. The piece that strummed up more emotion than this heart of stone has felt in years is Ragnar Kjartansson’s “The Visitors.” It. Is. Beautiful. The other day I was talking with my friend about music that moves you, and how it is very hard to explain, but listening to it transports you to another place, giving you almost a lifting feeling. The same is true with The Visitors. I don’t want to spoil it, but the piece takes place in the dark, with nine video screens placed around the room. Each screen shows a musician in a different carefully composed scene in a Victorian-like mansion that is in romantic disrepair. (I thought it must be a former plantation in the south, but instead found it to be Rokeby Farm in Upstate NY) 

Each screen is paired with its own speaker, giving the visitor the ability to hear only the musician on the adjacent screen. Together, they play and sing one of the most heart-tugging songs this battle axe has ever heard. I love it so much. You can ruin it for yourself and read more about it, but do me a favor, and just go to see it. It runs until March 16. You’re welcome.

Lori Zimmer