Kunstkritikk Becomes an International Journal

Kunstkritikk relaunches with a new design and an expanded international edition – with substantial support from the New Carlsberg Foundation.

Friday 1 February, Kunstkritikk launches its new international edition. 

Kunstkritikk was first established as an online journal in Norway in 2003. From 2010, it became a pan-Nordic journal with editorial teams in Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. In recent years, the journal has also translated selected articles into English for the English-language domain, kunstkritikk.com. Now, the time has come to launch a fully-fledged international version in English.

According to Editor-in-Chief Jonas Ekeberg, the goal is to present Nordic art to an international audience while maintaining the journal’s position as a central reference point in the overall Nordic conversation on art. “The fact that this Nordic-international journal is launched at this particular time is no coincidence,” he says. “At this point in time – the late 2010s – we see the contours of a mature, dynamic Nordic art world with a genuinely international outlook. National museums are being built and upgraded in Norway and Sweden, international art fairs are arranged in Copenhagen and Stockholm, and international biennials or triennials are arranged in Bergen, Gothenburg and Aarhus. The Nordic artists of the 90s and 00s have become international megastars, and younger Nordic artists move freely and confidently in the digitised and globalised present-day art situation.” 

Ekeberg adds that “the ever-expanding Nordic art scene depends on professional, well-founded criticism. The ambition of Kunstkritikk is to spearhead the Nordic-international dialogue on art.” Concurrently with the new international version, Kunstkritikk will also launch a new design, which emphasises visual aspects and is better adapted to social media.

The last piece of the puzzle

The Nordic countries have a long-standing democratic tradition of supporting art education, artists, and art institutions. However, support for criticism has fallen by the wayside. The responsibility for professional critique has been left in the hands of traditional media, which are now devoting fewer resources to such criticism than before. Fortunately, forward-looking private actors and public funds still exist.

Kunstkritikk is already supported by a number of important foundations in Scandinavia, which also want to aid this development. Now, the New Carlsberg Foundation has pledged to support Kunstkritikk International. Thanks to their generosity, the last piece of the puzzle has fallen into place, allowing the project to be realised.

Morten Kyndrup, boardmember of the New Carlsberg Foundation and professor at the Department of Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University, says “we are fully aware of the key function served by art criticism in the wider art world. It is hardly a secret that in recent years, traditional media have downgraded their efforts as regards serious art criticism, and this is part of the reason why we are now allocating funds for the development of Kunstkritikk International, just as we have also recently supported a master class on art criticism organised by the Danish newspaper Politiken. We have deliberately chosen to concentrate exclusively on a few, selected, serious projects that we believe in, and which will help to upgrade, strengthen, and qualify art critique in general.”

Ekeberg is honoured by the support of the New Carlsberg Foundation. “The support from the New Carlsberg Foundation is not only generous, but a cause for celebration. Combined with the support provided by our other sponsors, it enables us to launch Kunstkritikk International with daily updates. What is more, the foundation’s support has important symbolic significance. The New Carlsberg Foundation has an impressive history as a patron of the arts on a European level, and we are proud to have them on our team in the years to come,” he says.

International initiatives

Established in 1902 by master brewer Carl Jacobsen, the New Carlsberg Foundation is financed by the income generated by his share in the Carlsberg breweries. Today, the foundation continues to realise Jacobsen’s vision of making art accessible to the widest possible audience. The foundation’s three main focus areas are: donating works of art to museums; supporting art for public institutions and public spaces; and supporting research projects within the field of art.

Vilhelm Dahlerup’s Elephant Gate at the entrance of Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen. Built in 1901, it was commissioned by brewer Carl Jacobsen, who was inspired by the idea of elephants after seeing Bernini’s obelisk-carrying elephant in Rome.

 Recently, the foundation has increasingly embarked on international ventures. The support for Kunstkritikk’s international version can be seen in this context.

In recent years, the New Carlsberg Foundation has intensified its efforts aimed at Danish art on the international scene,” Kyndrup tells Kunstkritikk. “We support museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim and most recently, the Phillips Collection with grants that help them acquire, present, and conduct research on Danish art, and we do so in order to build on and further the great international awareness that Danish art – quite deservedly – enjoys at present. Building on this effort, we found it relevant to support Kunstkritikk’s ambition to extend its reach out into world, offering qualified and critical discussion and dissemination of Danish and Nordic art.”

Nordic perspectives on international events

In the future, Kunstkritikk will publish daily critique, commentary, and news from the Nordic and international art fields. The main emphasis will still fall on Nordic art: reviews of exhibitions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden; interviews with Nordic artists; and topical reports from the world of art. In addition, Kunstkritikk International will offer Nordic perspectives on the most important exhibitions and events in the world’s major art centres.  

Kunstkritikk is also sponsored by: Norsk kulturråd, Utenriksdepartementet, Fritt Ord, Bildende Kunstneres Hjelpefond, Nordisk Kulturfond, Statens Kunstfond (Denmark), Statens Kulturråd (Sweden) and Svenska Kulturfonden (Finland).

The launch is celebrated with a reception in Copenhagen on Thursday 31 January, at Apollo Bar, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, from 19:00 to 22:00. All are welcome!