Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art should be on every art lover’s radar screen. Located in Oslo, Norway, it has a significant collection of contemporary international art and has produced lively, intelligent temporary exhibits. Although the museum’s two present exhibition floors are a delight to view art in, very few, if any, of the extensive permanent holdings can be seen when special exhibits take place. Much needed additional space will be provided by 2012 when the museum moves into two new buildings designed by Renzo Piano that will be located in a sculpture park also designed by Piano.

Damian Hirst, Mother and Child Divided, 1993

The museum’s collection includes works by such artists as Francis Bacon, Damian Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Cai Guo-Qiang. Some past shows focused on Andy Warhol, Richard Price, Charles Ray, Jeff Wall, and Matthew Barney.

Subodh Gupta, Date by Date, 2008
From the exhibit, "Indian Highway"

Indian Highway”, the current exhibition, highlights Indian contemporary art and is part of a series that the museum organized with London’s Serpentine Gallery. The sequence of shows looks at contemporary art from the twenty-first century’s emerging powers – China, India and the Middle East.

For some reason, most of my art astute friends had never heard of this museum. A pity. My one problem with the Astrup Fearnley is the limited access to its permanent holdings. This should be rectified with the opening of the new buildings.

Anselm Kiefer, Zweistormland/The High Priestess, 1986-1989

On a recent visit to the museum, I was impressed with the "Indian Highway" exhibition but I wanted to see more of the museum’s holdings. The only ones on view were three powerful Anselm Kiefers. Their installation, in one vast asymmetrical gallery, was a knock-out. Why did they remain? Kiefer’s work is too heavy to move.

Put the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art on your must see list.

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Dronningensgate 4, Oslo, Norway

Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday - 11 am – 7 pm
Saturday - Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
Monday - closed

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