The Henie Onstad Art Center outside Oslo, Norway opened its doors for the first time in August 1968. At that time the collection consisted of approximately 300 paintings donated by World and Olympic champion figure skater Sonja Henie and her husband, shipping magnate and art collector Niels Onstad. A lot has happened during these 50 years of living art in Oslo.
After 50 years, the collection has grown to more than 4000 works and a new permanent location ‘Hymn of Life’ by Yayou Kusama was inaugurated as a part of the jubilee. Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist elected as the world’s most popular artist last year. Although she makes lots of different types of art – paintings, sculptures, performances and installations, she is and sometimes called ‘the princess of polka dots’.
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50 years of living art in Oslo
The art center, designed by Norwegian architects Jon Eikvar and Sven Erik Engebretsen, also contains Sonja Henie’s award collection. In 1994, the building was extended, and a two-story wing with exhibition spaces and technical rooms was added. This project was designed by the same architects—the new wing abuts the main body of the building as an organic extension.
In 2003, another extension was made, this time in the form of an annex that extends into the outdoor park, connected to the main building by a passage leading from the lower level. In addition to six exhibition halls, the Centre also has an auditorium and smaller meeting rooms. The total building area is today approximately 9,500 square meters, of which 3,500 are occupied by exhibition spaces
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Turn and face the strange
The Henie Onstad Art Center contains beautiful works from the core collection by Picasso, Miró, Ernst, Dubuffet and Matisse in addition to important works from the special collections consisting of Cobra and Fluxus as well as larger deposits from Sparebankstiftelsen DNB with Schwitters and the historical avantgarde.
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The anniversary exhibit is called “Turn and Face the Strange — 50 years of living art”. It runs until August next year. Weidemann’s exhibit continues until October 14.
50 Years of Living Art in Oslo, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top):
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter marked its fiftieth anniversary with the unveiling of a new work by Per Inge Bjørlo. Photo: Kunstkritikk.