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  • Ena with Eyes Shut, 2014, designer: Nikolaj Kristensen, © Cooper & Gorfer
    Feb 07, 2017

The Weather Diaries - March 25-July 2, 2017

The Weather Diaries at American Swedish Institute  Explores Fashion, Culture and Identity in Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands

First Look Preview Party is March 24, Exhibition On View March 25-July 2, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN— The Weather Diaries is an exhibition of striking, photographic artworks linked with one-of-a-kind gallery installations at the American Swedish Institute that probes the roots of  West Nordic fashion and explores the inescapable impact of nature and weather in developing a centuries deep cultural identity in Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.  The Weather Diaries features the mesmerizing creations of the artistic duo Cooper & Gorfer, who will be special guests with Icelandic artist/designer STEiNUNN during the Friday, March 24, First Look—The Weather Diaries Preview Party.  The exhibition is on view Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, July 2, 2017. The ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis.  For more details, visit or call 612-871-4907.

The Weather Diaries continues ASI’s 2017 suite of programming inspired by Migration, Identity and Belonging and reflects the organization’s founding by Swedish immigrants and mission to be a gathering place for all people to share experiences around culture, migration, the environment and the arts. 

Sarah Cooper, (U.S., 1974) and Nina Gorfer (Austria, 1979), who now live and work in Gothenburg, Sweden and Berlin, Germany, travelled throughout Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands on assignment from exhibition producer The Nordic House in Reykjavik.  Their resulting large-scale,

painting-like pieces are constructed with advanced collage techniques that combine photographs of work by some of the most gifted artists and designers of the West Nordic region including STEiNUNN, Barbara I Gongini, Kría, Nikolaj Kristensen, GUĐRUN & GUĐRUN, Bibi Chemnitz, Jessie Kleemann, Mundi and JÖR by Guðmundur Jörundsson.  The accompanying installations display a 55-pound beaded collar, knitted garments, tulle and feathers, bone fragments and full-sized mannequins in tailored suits. The Weather Diaries Film is a short “behind the scenes” documentary, filmed on location, giving voice to the designers and capturing the visual allure of these three island nations.

In addition to gallery hopping conversations with the founding artists and others, the “First Look” Preview Party on March 24, will feature live music and hands-on activities.  Fashion Week Minnesota co-directors Jahna Peloquin and Sarah Edwards will lead a lively discussion with exhibition creators, Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer, designer STEiNUNN.  Curated culinary offerings and crafted beverages will be available for purchase from FIKA Café.

Bruce Karstadt,  ASI President/CEO, commented, “We are privileged to host The Weather Diaries, a fascinating examination of the powerful influences nature and geography can have in shaping cultural identity as expressed in fashion and art. This is a phenomenon Minnesotans well understand.  As ASI continues its 2017 Migration, Identity and Belonging programming, we welcome the exhibition as an opportunity to spark meaningful dialogue about how exploring our roots can positivly impact today’s local and global community.”

Cooper & Gorfer are photographers in origin, but they strive away from realistic representation and are known for their painterly aesthetics and poetic hybrid image collages. Their work often revolves around issues of cultural identity and the connections among people, story and place. Informed by comprehensive research travel and close collaborations, the duo carefully directs their productions, distorting proportions, shifting time and space, and using stylized poses as part of an enigmatic ensemble.  They describe their work in the context of art history’s Mannerists, Pre-Raphaelites or Surrealists, straining observable reality through a complex psychological filter of dreams, moods, fears and wounds, interpreting present-day identities by crossing genres from centuries of visual culture.

Cooper & Gorfer began collaborating in 2006 and have had several solo exhibitions including those at Hasselblad Center Gothenburg, Kulturhuset Stockholm, Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt and the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen. They were awarded the Swedish Art Book Award for both SEEK Volume 01 Iceland and My Quiet Gold.

Related Programming:

Friday, March 24

First Look–the Weather Diaries, Exhibition Preview Party

6:30 –11:00 p.m., $15 ASI members / $20 non-members

Enjoy live music and hands-on activities led by organizations including the Textile Center, with fiber-based jewelry making, and the 612 Sauna Society.  Specialty cocktails and curated appetizers are available for purchase from the award-winning FIKA Café.  First Look special guests are exhibition creators Cooper & Gorfer (Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer) with Icelandic designer/installation artist

STEiNUNN taking part in a lively  discussion about fashion and exchange moderated by Fashion Week Minnesota’s Jahna Peloquin and Sarah Edwards with Ghanaian-Minnesotan designer Jacqueline Amissah Addison of the Akua Gabby fashion line.

Tuesday, May 9

Liquid Music - featuring Iceland’s Bedroom Community and Friends

6 –10:30 p.m.,

$20 ASI members & Liquid Music subscribers / $25 general public

ASI is the host and co-presenter for this special performance as part of Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Where Words End Nordic-focused festival featuring Swedish vocalist Mariam Wallentin and Pekka Kuusisto with Valgeir Sigurðsson, Jodie Landau, Sam Amidon and Daníel Bjarnason. Purchase tickets at SPCO by calling 651-291-1144 or at

Related activities will continue throughout the exhibitions. For more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.

Other ASI 2017 Exhibitions

Cows Can Dream – an Exhibition/Installation in ASI’s Youth & Family Gallery - Through October 29

ASI’s Youth & Family Gallery on the third floor of the Turnblad Mansion has been turned into an imaginative environment inspired by Cows Can Dream, a children's book with illustrations by Swedish visual artist Maria Bajt and text by Jason Diakité (aka Swedish rap star Timbuktu). The Gallery brings to life the inner world of (Ms.) Sam the cow who dreams and wanders through Sweden's Wanås Konst sculpture park. The book and exhibition are an experiment in words encouraging discovery of creativity and what is art.

Arts North
April 9-May 21, 2017

The Arts North exhibition highlights 50 works of art on display at ASI, selected from more than 200 in the 22nd Annual Arts in Harmony Show in Blaine. This juried traveling show, modeled after the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts competition, draws from over 720 initial entries of media including ceramics, glass, drawings, oils, photography, prints, sculpture, textiles and watercolors, representing artists from throughout the US.

THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE (ASI) is a museum and cultural center that is a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  The ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, 55418.  The Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.” For more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.

ASI MUSEUM HOURS:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, Noon–5 p.m.; closed Monday.

Museum Admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5  ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.                             

FIKA, ASI’s award winning café, is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  8:30 a.m. –5 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.  Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The ASI MUSEUM STORE is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. –8 p.m.  Sunday,  Noon-5 p.m.


Lead support from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and Delta Air Lines. Premiere support also comes from Nordic House and Hotel Ivy with additional support from Karin Larson, Fashion Week Minnesota and Borton Volvo.

Special thanks to ASI contributing members and donors. Their ongoing contributions help make our programs, exhibitions and community work possible.               

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