Groundbreaking Swedish Underground Exhibition at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, Sept. 8-9

The Phantom in Skanor by De Geer.jpgIt’s the largest known collection of artwork and photography produced by the leading Swedish and Scandinavian artists of the 1960s and 70s counterculture. The Swedish Underground Exhibition, one of the finest examples of the shift in post-war art in Sweden, is coming to the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, Sept. 8 & 9 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. The exhibition will be on view both days of the Fair during show hours in the Center’s exhibit room.   

Organized and curated by Johan Kugelberg, founder of Boo-Hooray, the organization he formed to formalize his archival collections of hip hop, punk and counter culture art,  the exhibition features major artistic voices of the time. At the center of the movement is Carl Johan De Geer, the Swedish artist and photographer, who began taking photographs in the 1960s that captured the grit of everyday Swedish life. De Geer’s photographs serve as a visual record of the era’s societal and cultural upheaval in otherwise conservative Sweden.

Like many artists of the time, De Geer became associated with Galleri Karlsson, considered the epicenter of the countercultural movement. The gallery exhibited artists such as De Geer and his wife, Mari-Louise De Geer, an accomplished artist in her own right;  Lars Hillersberg, Lena Svedberg, and Oyvind Fahlstrom - all of whom are represented in the upcoming exhibition.

In the late 60’s, De Geer, along with Svedberg, Hillersberg, and two other Swedish artists were associated with the leading Swedish underground publication of the Time, Puss magazine, contributing to its satire-driven, progressive content. The work of Lars Hillersberg, often employed humor and caricature in his political cartoons. Oyvind Fahlstrome served as New York correspondent, covering the city’s underground art scene.

Lena Svedberg (1946-1972) is cited as the greatest political artist associated with Puss. A compulsive draftsman, she avoided gallery shows, making her work difficult to sell.  De Geer’s documentary, “ I Remember Lena Svedberg is a masterful tribute to the artist, who committed suicide at age 16. The Swedish Underground Exhibit contains several original Svedberg artworks, as well as reproductions in prints and publications such as Puss.

Johan Kugelberg, who teaches and hosts symposiums at Yale and Cornell Universities, as well as Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, will conduct a tour of the exhibit and give a talk, humorously titled, “Why is The Swedish Underground Important:  I Don’t Speak Swedish,” on Sunday September 9th at  2pm. The tour and talk is free with pre-registration on the Fair’s website - www.brooklynbookfair.com.  

Show hours are: Saturday noon-7pm; Sunday 11am-4pm.   Admission:  Weekend pass $15 for adults; Sunday admission $10. An opening “Bagels & Books,” preview is scheduled for Saturday, 10am on.  The preview benefits scholarships at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School. Tickets are $30 and available online at a discounted price at brooklynbookfair.com

Image: Like many artists of the time, De Geer, a talented painter, photographer, illustrator and filmmaker, became associated with Galleri Karlsson, considered the epicenter of the countercultural movement. The Swedish Underground Exhibition opens Sept. 8 & 9 at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair. It is largest known collection of counterculture artwork and photography produced by  leading Swedish and Scandinavian artists of the 1960s and 70s. The 100-exhibitor Fair is held at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint.

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