Nordic News Weekly – November 9th

Abuse at the Royal Danish Academy of Art, artists’ studios at the National Gallery in Oslo, a reopening of Magasin III in Stockholm, and more.

Photo: The Royal Danish Academy of Art.

A #metoo-related story hit the news last weekend when former students and staff at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen broke the silence surrounding the resignation of a professor at the academy back in May 2018. In several articles in the newspaper Politiken, students describe an environment of hierarchies, verbal abuse and sexual harassment; a destructive culture where transgressive behaviour was encouraged. An incident of sexual harassment was reported to then-rector Sanne Kofod Olsen in 2015, but this was not acted on until the spring of 2018, when the accused professor left in order to ”pursue his artistic career”, as the academy’s official statement put it. Kunstkritikk wrote about the case in an article in October (in Danish). Politiken has revealed that the professor was given six months full pay, plus a sum of around half a million DKK as a part of his agreement. The academy has been duly criticised by commentators for trying to hush up the incident. So far, the professor has been anonymised in media, and the ensuing debate has concerned the precarious status of the so-called ”professor schools”, the organisational model where a single professor is given full artistic, curricular and pedagogical responsibility for his or her own department.

Artists’ studios at the National Gallery in Oslo

Nasjonalmuseets direktør, Karin Hindsbo, kulturminister Trine Skei Grande og direktør for Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, André Støylen, under gårsdagens pressekonferanse i Nasjonalgalleriet. Foto: Kunstkritikk.

After a decade of uncertainties concerning the future of Oslo’s National Gallery, this week director of the Norwegian National Museum Karin Hindsbo announced their plans for the building. The National Gallery, dating from 1882, is to be vacated from January 2019 in preparation for the opening of the National Museum’s new building in 2020. In a press conference, Hindsbo, along with Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande and head of the private fund Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, André Støylen, said that the plan is to open up the entire building for the public after renovations, and to make room for artists’ studios and workshops alongside temporary exhibitions. Ruben Steinum and Rhea Dall from the UKS (Young Artists’ Society) welcomes the decision: “It is an appropriate and positive development that the National Museum intends to bring living artists into focus when planning the future use of the National Gallery,” said the chairman and director of UKS to Kunstkritikk. Read the story in Norwegian here.

Magasin III collaborates with Stockholm University

In Stockholm, the privately-run kunsthalle Magasin III has made public their plans to reopen in Frihamnen in the spring of 2020 after a two-year hiatus. Magasin III closed in Stockholm in 2017 in order to rethink its format, but established a permanent kunsthalle in Tel Aviv in
January 2018, as reported by Kunstkritikk. This week they also announced that a new exhibition space will open at Stockholm University. Accelerator, as the project is called, is a collaboration between the University, Magasin III and the private foundation Familjen Robert Weils Stiftelse, focusing on the intersections between art and science. Accelerator will open at an underground physics laboratory on the University’s campus at Frescati in northern Stockholm in September 2019.

The Manne Siegbahn Laboratory will be transformed into Accelerator. Photo: The University of Stockholms/Ingmarie Andersson.

20 years of organised critics in Norway

A two-day seminar on criticism opens this weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of the Norwegian Association of Critics. Titled Critical Practice, the seminar will be held at The National Library in Oslo and covers topics such as criticism and plurality, the relationships between emotions, politics and critical judgment, and the directions which criticism might take in the next 20 years – a topic that will be discussed by a panel of representatives from private and public funding institutions. The Norwegian Association of Critics represents critics in the fields of art, literature, dance, theatre and music, and initiated Kunstkritikk in 2003.

New director at Den Frie in Copenhagen

Den Frie Udstillingsbygning in Copenhagen has announced the identity of their new director. Art historian Dina Vester Feilberg comes from the kunsthalle Rønnebæksholm in Næstved, where she has been head of exhibitions since 2008 and director since 2014. Den Frie Udstillingsbygning has been an artist-run exhibition space ever since it first opened in 1894. Feilberg takes over from January 2019.

Image: Barents Spektakel.

“The World’s Northernmost Chinatown”

When the 15th instalment of the festival Barents Spetakkel opens in Kirkenes in February 2019, the town will be transformed into “The World’s Northernmost Chinatown” in an attempt to imagine possible futures for the arctic region, according to a statement released this week. With the prospect of new trade routes opened up by the receding polar ice, “optimism sits awkwardly alongside fears of foreign control of resources and trade routes,” according to the producers. Kirkenes is situated far up in the north-eastern regions of Norway, near the Finnish and Russian border, and the festival calls itself a “cultural-political cocktail” with the geopolitical situation of the Barents region as its backdrop. Norwegian artist Helle Siljeholm is the festival’s acting artistic director.