A new institute has been set up to handle the art and business affairs of Odd Nerdrum, Norway’s leading contemporary artist. Nerdrum has refused to talk to Norwegian media since 2002, but those set to run the institute say it will allow him to concentrate on his art.
Nerdrum, once known as a high-profile artist often seen walking the streets of Oslo in his characteristic long skirts and tunics, left Norway and went into self-imposed exile in Iceland in 2003. He was angry over media coverage and controversy surrounding his works, but eventually returned to Norway in 2007.
He now lives on a farm near Stavern, about a two-hour drive south of Oslo, but also reportedly spends a lot of time outside Paris as well. Now, three Nerdrum enthusiasts have established the shareholder-owned Nerdrum Institute to take care of the now-65-year-old artist’s artistic and commercial interests.
“We are three people who think Nerdrum is the world’s greatest contemporary painter, and who are willing to use time on his art world in this way,” former gallery owner and art dealer Bjørn Li told newspaper Aftenposten. Li has written several articles on Nerdrum, and is joined by Allis Helleland, former head of Oslo’s National Gallery, and Kjell Endre Wenstad, who ran Kunsthuset in Oslo along with Li.
Together the three will take care of Nerdrum’s affairs, from commercial projects to exhibitions, “so that Nerdrum himself can have peace and concentrate on his work as a painter.” Li said The Nerdrum Institute will cooperate with galleries and museums internationally and “spread knowledge about his painting universe” to museum, researchers and students.
Nerdrum has called himself a “figurative kitsch painter.” The institute will have all rights to sale of his paintings and drawings.
Views and News staff