Nordic News Weekly – June 14th

Gitte Ørskou becomes the director of Moderna Museet, Danish Social Democrats issue a new cultural policy, and the gallery Signal in Malmö shares art prize with other cultural initiatives.

Gitte Ørskou, the new director of Moderna Museets in Stockholm. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet.

The Danish art historian Gitte Ørskou has been appointed as the new director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Ørskou is the chair of the Danish Arts Foundation and has been the director of Kunsten – Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark since 2009. On 1 September, she will take over for Daniel Birnbaum as Moderna Museet’s first female director since Karin Lindegren left the position in 1978. It is particular, it was Moderna Museet’s solid collection that drew Ørskou to the job. As she explained to Kunstkritikk: “To exhibit art is an act that writes art history, therefore it is important that we continually reflect on how we do it, and why.” Ørskou also mentioned Moderna Museet’s impact on art history, citing its introduction of Hilma af Klint – whose work was once refused by the museum’s collection – as a modernist pioneer during the early 2000s. As the new director, Ørskou wants to ensure that the collection does not only attract international tourists, but also links to local residents. “Art is not outside society, but is part of it. Therefore, an institution like Moderna Museet must constitute a bridge between the art and its audience, so that people with different conditions can meet the museum’s exhibitions,” she said. Read the story in Swedish here.

Mogens Jensen is one of the voices behind a new proposal for cultural policy. Photo: Steen Brogaard.

Social Democrats propose new cultural policy

After winning the general election last week, the Danish Social Democrats havegiven their first proposal for a cultural policy. In a chronicle in the online news magazine Kulturmonitor,four of the party’s major figures– including Mogens Jensen, cultural spokesman and the most likely candidate to become Minister of Culture in a new government – have drawnup “eight ways to endcultural inequality.” Besides more art in public schools and cultural after-school programs, there are also suggestions that require cultural institutions to reach out to vulnerable social groups in all parts of the country. “This could be part of a new subsidy system for art institutions,” they write. The proposal fuels the current discussion on the Social Democrats’concept of culture, which took off when the party’sgroup chairman,in a radio program for the Danish Broadcasting Company,called subsidies for ballet, opera,and libraries “highbrow elite,” claiming they do not“support the culture in a broader popular sense. ”In the chronicle, the four seem to agree.“ Do more Danes gain access to culture if we focus on the spectacular and controversial?” they ask, providing their own answer: “There is nothing that suggests so.”

Signal is awarded with this year’s Dynamo Award. Photo via facebook.

Signal shares art prize

The Swedish Art Grants Committee awards the artist run exhibition space Signal in Malmö this years Dynamo Award, an art prize worth 150,000SEK (14,000 EUR). In itsmotivation, the grant committee points to Signal’s almost two-decade-long dedication to create “an invaluable meeting place for visual artists, curators, and art audiences.” Carl Lindh, Joel Odebrant and Elena Tzotzi, who run Signal today, havegenerously chosen to share the prize with a number of other cultural initiatives in Malmö, including Alta Art Space, DELFI, Malmö Open Studios, METOOD and Hyllie Youth Council. In a press release, they state: “Speaking from our own experience, we know very well that when you reach a certain point after a while of giving everything you have and not being sure if you have the energy or the possibility to continue, then that is the moment when all support and appreciation means the world. Therefore, we have decided to accept the Dynamo Award 2019 with great joy and in our turn pass it on to several initiatives that are also valuable and indispensable for the strong art scene that Malmö is today.”

Public Movement, Cross Section, 2014. Photograph: Sergey Illin, Alexander Pilyugin.

Choreography of the Social

This week,Public Art Agency Sweden released the artist list and program for the upcoming public art exhibition Choreographies of the Social, which will take place on multiple public squares in Stockholm. According to the press release,the exhibition will be “one of the biggest endeavoursThe Public Art Agency has made within temporary contemporary art,”and will “explore the diverse landscape of social relationships”through nine works that “address the global tensions and dynamics that characterise our time.”The nine artists and collectives are: The Bridge Radio, Klas Eriksson, Shilpa Gupta, Molly Haslund, Ingela Ihrman & Maja Salomonsson, MYCKET, Cecilia Parsberg, Public Movement, and Jonas Staal. Choreography of the social will take place 13–25 August.

Margit Walsøe presents Norway as Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair during a press conference. Photo: Sabine Felber.

Norway Guest of Honour in Frankfurt

Under the title The dream we carry, Norway will be Guest of Honour at this year’s edition of Frankfurt Book Fair in October. In collaboration with Norwegian and German institutions, the literary program will be accompanied by an extensive cultural program encompassing fine art, performance, music, film,and architecture. Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, will hold an exhibition with textile works by Hannah Ryggen (1894–1970); Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf will present Edvard Munch as Seen by Karl Ove Knausgård; and Museum Wiesbaden will host a retrospective of the painter Harald Sohlberg (1869–1935). The centre for the cultural program will be Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, which will dedicate all of its exhibition space to “an outstanding collection of Norwegian art and culture, design, crafts,and architecture,” according toa press release from the Norwegian Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Kunsthall Oslo is behind a new sculpture park for children in Oslo.

Street becomes sculpture park

Rostockgata, a heavily trafficked street in Oslo, will close until September, after which it will become a temporary sculpture park for children. Residents in the area perceived the street as both unpleasant and dangerous, and pushedthe issue tothe city council, whichchoseto dedicate the street to Oslo Kunsthall’s vision for a cultural park. The plan has now become part of the city council’s urban development policy, which aims to create greener outdoor spaces and meeting places in Oslo. Member of the city council for urban development in Olso municipality, Hanna Marcussen, saidto the newspaperDagavisen: “Residential areas should not just be places people go to sleep, but places they live in. Therefore, we must build places where you can get to know neighbours, where children can play, and grandmother can take a rest on a bench. We live in a country which is very gray half of the year. Then it helps with more green areas, colours, and art.”

Still from Bande à part, Jean-Luc Godard, 1964.

Conference on independent art institutions online

Many of the debates from lastweekend’s large-scale international conference Bande àpartin Oslo are now available online on YouTube. The two-day conference hosted by UKS (Young Artists’Society) had a focus on independent art institutions, and took a look at how small-scale models depart from the traditional formats of the institutional white cube. Amongst participantsfrom a number of independent institutions both in the Nordic region and abroad, there where three keynote speakers: Chris Kraus (Native Agents imprint at Semiotext(e));Lars Bang Larsen (Moderna Museet);and Christine Tohme (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut), who discussed the value of independent and alternative institutional models vis-à-vis a default organisational infrastructure. Watch the debates online here.