Nordic News
Week Ending 28 September

This week’s Nordic edition: Astrup Fearnley Museum in Tjuvholmen, Hadia Tajik as Norway's Minister of Culture and Kunsthal Charlottenborg and the Academy Merger.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum. Photo: Nic Lehoux.

Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Tjuvholmen officially opens this Saturday September 29 in Oslo. Curated by director Gunnar Kvaran, the monumental museum launches with an exhibition of the collection’s structure in chronological order, To Be With Art Is All We Ask—a title underlining the museum’s investment in art’s internal issues rather than political or social ones. Previously, the museum focused on American art—and in recent years, also Indian and Chinese art—but two upcoming 2013 exhibitions will exhibit Brazilian and European art, respectively. In a video interview with Kunstkritikk, conservator Hanne Beate Ueland states that she has recorded a greater acceptance of private museums in recent years, but arts communities have persisted with skepticism. Yet, she expresses that the museum is more liberated and better equipped to focus their scope of work compared to public institutions which harbor more responsibilities. Original article in Norwegian (27.09.12). 

Hadia Tajik.

Hadia Tajik, a trained journalist and lawyer, has become Norway’s Minister of Culture; Tajik is the youngest minister to serve, at 29 years old and Norway’s first Muslim minister. The Norwegian-Pakistani Tajik is known as a distinguished debater concerned with issues such as employment, gender equalities and reducing social inequalities to ensure that Oslo is a safe city. At the inauguration of its new government officials at the Palace Square, Jens Stoltenberg informed the NRK that he had considered Tajik as a minister candidate since 2008 when she began working as a political advisor at the minister’s office. Original article in Norwegian (21.09.12).

In an attempt to promote transparency and gather ranging suggestions, an unconventional decision was made by the Finnish organization, the Foundation FRAME, this year to publicly announce the assignment of curating the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013. The only specification was that applying curators and curatorial groups must take into account the Foundation’s mission: to strengthen the Finnish visual arts position and promote international cooperation. Out of forty proposals received, three finalists have been chosen. A final decision for the curatorial position will be announced in late October. Original article in Swedish (26.09.12).

Uffe Elbæk.

As a consequence of the September 10th merger between Kunsthal Charlottenborg and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen which has been criticized by many—including the board of directors which has now dissolved—British curator and director Mark Sladen stepped down from his position as director of Charlottenborg. During his interim, he upgraded the venue Charlottenborg to embrace a more recognized international position. His choice to move on is seen by many in the art community as a loss to the Danish art scene. Furthermore, influential organisations such as the Danish Arts Council and the Association of Danish Museums argue that the merger was not a good move economically, artistically or administratively, yet rector Mikkel Bogh and Culture Minister Uffe Elbæk continue to defend the merger. Original article in Danish (24.09.12)

This week’s critiques are Ruth Hege Halstensen on the exhibition Nabolag (“Neighbourhood”) at Tag Team Studio, Bergen; Maria Kjær Themsen on Danish artist Gudrun Hasle’s solo exhibition Modsmerte (“Overruling Pain”) at Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde; Tommy Olsson on the exhibition I Wish This Was A Song at The National Museum, Oslo; Ingvild Krogvig on Paul McCarthy’s White Snow at Peter Lund, Oslo; and Line Ulekleiv on Jon Benjamin Tallerås’ solo exhibition Vagrancy and Idleness at Kunsthall Oslo.