SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum
The SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (“SKMU”) is a regional art institution, located in Kristiansand, Norway, which has collected high quality arts and crafts objects from its local area since its foundation in 1995. SKMU has developed a wide range of educational activities including establishing a museum for children, The Children’s Art Museum, within its premises. Recently, under its new CEO Reidar Fuglestad, SKMU has been progressing very strongly. Visitor numbers are up a very impressive 50% in the last year and its revenues have nearly doubled.
The Foundation has made a number of grants to SKMU to be used for the purchase of Norwegian glass, ceramics and similar artworks dating from 1930 onwards for public display. It has also supported an initiative by SKMU to cover the cost of transport to bring school children to the museum.
The Foundation has begun a major initiative of support for AKO Kunststiftelse, a Norwegian non-profit foundation whose objective is to advance the public’s access to Nordic visual arts from the post 1900 period. To achieve this objective, AKO Kunststiftelse is building a collection of such art for public exhibition and will give SKMU the right to use this collection free of charge and on a perpetual basis.
It is planned that the public exhibition of the collection will be in a new museum, the Kunstsilo Museum, in Kristiansand. The establishment of this new museum is being undertaken by SKMU in cooperation with the Kristiansand municipal authorities and other Norwegian institutions, and is currently in its development stages.
To date, the focus of AKO Kunststiftelse has been on building the collection, while SKMU has undertaken the identification of the building to house and exhibit the collection and the recruitment of the director of this new museum. The ultimate combined vision is to create a public art collection of international importance housed in an art museum of outstanding architectural quality.
The Courtauld Institute of Art
The Courtauld Institute of Art (“the Courtauld”) is an international centre for the study of the history and conservation of art and is also home to one of the finest small art museums in the world.
Its Institute of Art, a college of the University of London, is the pre-eminent centre for the study of the history of art in Europe. The Foundation has endowed an academic post for the study of European art of the 20th century, in particular, German Expressionism. The gift was made by the Foundation in honour of Dr Shulamith Behr, Honorary Research Fellow at the Courtauld, who taught Nicolai Tangen during his MA studies there. Dr. Robin Schuldenfrei, a distinguished art history scholar specialising in the history and theory of European and American modern architecture and design, is the first appointee to this endowed post. She has made several important contributions to teaching and research at the Courtauld including launching a new MA degree, “Experiencing Modernism: Utopia, Politics, and Times of Turmoil”. The course is consistently popular and oversubscribed.
Courtauld Connects is a major capital project to redevelop the Courtauld. Its objectives are to increase access to the Courtauld and improve the user experience, to create the best teaching and research environment, and to preserve and reveal the Courtauld’s heritage building and collections. The Foundation has provided support for this project.
In December 2017, the Foundation presented its first annual AKO Curatorial Award to the winner and runners-up of a curatorial competition for graduates of the Courtauld’s MA programme Curating the Arts Museum. The assignment was to conceive an imaginative exhibition of modern Nordic visual arts and the entries received were of a very high standard. The winning entry, “Between the Trees” by Courtauld student Harry Dougall, was put on public exhibition at SKMU in the summer of 2018. The AKO Curatorial Award is the only prize available to curating MA graduates in the UK and the Foundation and the Courtauld Institute of Art look forward to its continuing success.
The Foundation also supported the Courtauld’s 2014 exhibition “Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude”.