SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum
The SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum is a regional art institution, located in Kristiansand, Norway, which has collected high quality arts and crafts objects from its local area since its formation in 1995. SKMU has developed a wide range of educational activities including the establishment of a successful museum for children, The Children’s Art Museum, within its premises.
The Foundation has made a number of grants to SKMU to be used for the purchase of Norwegian glass, ceramics and similar art works, 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 is undertaking a major programme of support for AKO Kunststiftelse, a Norwegian non-profit foundation whose objective is to advance the public’s access to Nordic visual arts from 1900 onwards. To achieve this objective AKO Kunststiftelse is building a collection of such art for public exhibition and it is intended that SKMU will have 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, the Norwegian government and other Norwegian institutions; it is expected to open in late 2022.
To date the main 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, the recruitment of the director of this new museum, and the building out of the Museum’s organisation. The ultimate combined vision is to create a public art collection of international importance housed in an art museum of outstanding architectural quality.
The Foundation is also supporting research into certain aspects of the collection by a doctoral candidate at the University of Agder, Norway.
The Courtauld Institute of Art
The Courtauld Institute of Art 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’s physical premises in Somerset House, London. The objectives of Courtauld Connects are to increase access to the Courtauld and improve users’ experiences, to create the best teaching, conservation and research environment, and to preserve and reveal the Courtauld’s heritage building and collections. The Foundation has provided a major grant towards this project.
In recent years, the Foundation has presented an annual AKO Curatorial Prize, open to graduates of the Courtauld’s MA programme. The AKO Curatorial Prize is the only such prize available to MA graduates in the UK.
The Foundation was the principal supporter of the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: In real life which was on display at Tate Modern during the second half of 2019. The Foundation’s connections with Eliasson’s work also include support for the charity Little Sun (see above).
During its 6-month run, Olafur Eliasson: In real life welcomed 546,431 visitors – nearly 200,000 more than had been anticipated. It was the second most attended exhibition in Tate’s history, and just the third to exceed the 500,000 visitors mark. Tate Collective (a bespoke membership programme for 16- to 25-year olds) accounted for 58,855 visits over the course of the exhibition run, the most popular show with Tate Collective members to date. Throughout the exhibition’s run, the exhibition webpage received nearly 1.5 million page views.
During 2020 the Foundation’s relationship with Tate deepened in several ways. Following on from the sustainability theme of the Olafur Eliasson: In real life exhibition, Tate had planned, with the Foundation’s support, a programme of events to be titled Power to Change: this would focus on the responsibility and role of artists, art and museums in the climate emergency. Regrettably, this had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having supported the staging by Turner Contemporary of the Turner Prize in 2019 (see below), the Foundation agreed to support the 2020 Turner Prize, to have been held at Tate Britain. In the event the 2020 Turner Prize did not take place, thus the Foundation’s support will be rolled forward towards the 2021 Turner Prize at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry.
Finally, Tate Modern and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, are jointly planning an exhibition, details of which will be announced by both institutions in due course. The Foundation will be a primary supporter of the exhibition while it is on display in London.
The world’s best-known and most prestigious contemporary art prize, the annual Turner Prize alternates between Tate Britain and a regional museum or gallery. In 2019 Turner Contemporary, located in Margate, on the Kent coast, was selected to host the Turner Prize. The Foundation’s support enabled Turner Contemporary to host the event, to deliver an education programme, and to use the high profile created by the Prize to commission new works.