Meet August Strindberg: Original Master of the Selfie

While the term “selfie” hadn’t been coined yet, August Strindberg, Sweden’s legendary poet, playwright, and visual artist, was taking just that in the late nineteenth century, long before the trend caught on with the modern advent of social media platforms. Whether being captured by world-famous photographers, amateurs, or himself, Strindberg was often in photography studios, taking images of himself to use as a visual calling card, sending them to just about anyone, whether it was friends, women, colleagues, publishers, actors, or acquaintances. As a result, Strindberg became one of Sweden’s most well known individuals. Despite his fame, questions and opinions still surround him: Who was Strindberg and do his hundreds of self-promoting images accurately capture him? Explore the answer to this question at the American Swedish Institute, which is offering a rare and intimate look into the mysterious man as a part of the exhibit The Image of Strindberg (through Oct. 26), which features 32 framed photographs and modern prints as well as original artwork and examples of his poetry, scripts and plays, with performances being done by artists in residence. Visit the exhibit on its own, or plan a trip that coincides with one of the museum’s events or workshops inspired by it. 

Cocktails at the Cabin (Aug. 7, 7-11 p.m.): This session of the museum’s popular cocktail event series will feature live local music, outdoor games, cabin-inspired eats from Fika, and the chance to create your own image of Strindberg. 21+ event.

ASI Crayfish Dinner (Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m.): In Sweden, August is crayfish season, a tradition beloved by Strindberg. Party in the outdoor courtyard, enjoying live music, an authentic Swedish crayfish dinner of breads, cheeses, salads, Swedish paj, and plenty of crayfish. 21+ event, reservations required by Aug. 7, tickets $50 for ASI members, $60 for nonmembers.

A Night of Social Wonder: Brand Makers and Image Breakers (Sept. 10, 7 p.m.): Explore the pressures of strategizing how we project ourselves publicly, a concept Strindberg understood well ahead of his time. $10 ASI members, $12 nonmembers. 

Lecture: Images of Strindberg (Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m.): Dr. Kjerstin Moody of the Department of Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College will hold a presentation on the life, work, and images of Strindberg. Included with museum admission, registration recommended.