Help wanted: New Munch Museum boss

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The City of Oslo is launching an international search for a new leader for its new Munch Museum, planned for the eastern waterfront area of the capital under redevelopment at Bjørvika. Head-hunters have been vying for the job.

The new Munch Museum (at left), planned for the waterfront at Bjørvika. ILLUSTRATION: Herreros Arquitectos

The museum itself remains a target of controversy over its design, with some officials worried it will be too tall. Other political forces want the Munch Museum to remain at its current site in the eastern district of Tøyen, but all indications are that some form of new museum will indeed be built at Bjørvika, and open in time for Norway’s bicentennial celebrations in 2014.

The museum will house not only the City of Oslo’s vast collection of paintings by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, but also the art collection donated to the city by the Stenersen family and now housed in its own museum downtown. The new museum will not carry the Stenersen name, however, and will only be called the Munch Museum.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday that the city now has decided to seek a new “director” for the combined museum, and look beyond Norway’s borders. Torger Ødegaard, the city’s top politician in charge of cultural matters, said the city wants to recruit a top museum leader.

“We’re using three billion kroner (about USD 500 million) on a new house, and have major ambitions to create a new museum for the city, for the country and for those interested in art the world over,” Ødegaard said. “Therefore we want to recruit one of the best leaders we can get.”

The city is negotiating a contract with an executive search firm to handle the recruiting.
The new museum leader will have more autonomy and decision-making authority than previous leaders of Oslo’s Munch Museum and will report directly to Ødegaard.

The current museum has been without its own leader since Ingebjørg Udstie resigned last year after two-and-a-half years in the position. Magne Bruteig has been working as acting director since.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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