Norway opens new $650 million national art museum complex in Oslo

  • The museum took eight years and $650 million to build
  • A sprawling resort on Oslo’s waterfront opens on June 11
  • Construction suffered delays, funding issues
  • The permanent exhibition includes “The Scream” by Munch

OSLO, June 7 (Reuters) – Norway will open its new $650 million national museum to the public on Saturday, unveiling a vast permanent exhibition of art through the ages that puts it on a par with some of the greatest world museums.

Designed by German architect Klaus Schuwerk, the large complex of square buildings on Oslo’s waterfront took eight years to complete and brings together the collections of five Norwegian art and design museums under one roof.

With 13,000 square meters of exhibition space and 6,500 works on permanent display, including Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’, the museum will be the largest in the Nordic countries and in the same league as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, in Spain, or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. .

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Constructed of materials meant to last for centuries, the museum buildings are adorned with local blue-gray slates and crowned with a translucent hall of light clad in glass and marble.

The hall will be used for temporary exhibitions and will begin with “I Call It Art” which features works by artists currently working in Norway on the themes of identity, belonging, nationality and democracy.

“It’s fantastic to work in a space where you have the ability to do any type of exhibit – hanging things from the ceilings, building and using all the elements,” said Stina Hoegkvist, Director of Exhibits and museum collections.

The museum’s planned exhibitions include exhibitions of works by American abstract painter Mark Rothko and Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, both in 2024.

Designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize greenhouse gas emissions, the museum is heated and cooled by water from the Oslo Fjord at its doorstep.

“It’s monumental and beautiful but also understated and intimate at the same time,” museum director Karin Hindsbo told Reuters.

The museum was the subject of some controversy after the project suffered delays and needed government support when it ran out of money. It was originally scheduled to open in 2020.

The design has been criticized for its “block” structure and the “schist”, a striped gray Norwegian slate, to cover the facade.

“There’s been a lot of debate, but that’s how it should be,” Hindsbo said.

($1 = 9.4725 Norwegian kroner)

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Reporting by Victoria Klesty Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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