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Gunnar B. Kvaran and Hans Rasmus Astrup in conversation at Frieze London 2018 (Photo: Javier Auris, NRK)
Gunnar B. Kvaran and Hans Rasmus Astrup in conversation at Frieze London 2018 (Photo: Javier Auris, NRK)

Press release -

Gunnar B. Kvaran steps down as director of Astrup Fearnley Museet

Gunnar B. Kvaran (64), the director of Astrup Fearnley Museet, is resigning his position as of the beginning of 2020.

Kvaran has been director since 2001. Earlier this year he informed Hans Rasmus Astrup, who owns the Astrup Fearnley Collection and who established the museum in 1993, that he wished to leave at the end of 2019.

‘When Hans Rasmus Astrup stepped down as chairman of the museum board in 2018, I felt it was the end of an era, and after 19 intense years as director, it’s time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new generation’, says Kvaran.

‘These 19 years have been wonderful. I’m enormously grateful for the collaboration with Hans Rasmus. The museum’s journey from its relatively small building in Dronningens gate to the present, when its collection fills one of Oslo’s landmark buildings, has been fantastic, both for the museum itself and for contemporary art. But I’ve always thought that 20 years as director of one and the same art institution is one year too much!’

‘Gunnar B. Kvaran has been an invaluable resource in the expansion of the museum and the growth of its reputation. His international network and close cooperation with artists, art writers, gallery owners and museum curators in other parts of the world have made a vital contribution to the museum’s exhibition programmes and acquisitions for the Astrup Fearnley Collection’, says Hans Rasmus Astrup. ‘Thanks to Kvaran’s network and expertise, the museum has been able from an early stage to invite major international artists such as Yoko Ono, Matthew Barney, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami to Oslo and present them to the Norwegian public’, says Astrup.

Bjørn Rønneberg, the current board chairman, thanks Kvaran for his great efforts on behalf of the museum during his time as director. ‘He will leave a very large gap that we now have to fill’, says Rønneberg.

Kvaran has encouraged research-based exhibitions presenting national art scenes and talented young artists previously unknown in Norway, such as Uncertain States of America (2005), China Power Station (2008), Indian Highway (2009), Imagine Brazil(2013) and Europe, Europe (2014). He has also showcased the young Norwegian art scene in exhibitions such as Lights On (2008), NN-A NN-A NN-A – New Norwegian Abstraction (2015) and Sun and Spring in January – Next Generation in Norwegian Contemporary Art (2019). In parallel with his work at the museum, Kvaran, who has a Ph.D. in art history from the Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France (1986), has been an active participant in the international art world. For example, he was co-curator (together with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum) of the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2007, and curator of the 2013 Lyon Biennale and the 2018 Belgrade Biennale – Marvellous Cacophony.

After his resignation, Kvaran will continue as adviser to the Hans Rasmus Astrup Foundation.

The position of director of Astrup Fearnley Museet will be advertised in August.


For further information and comment contact:
• Board chairman Bjørn Rønneberg, tel 22 93 60 36
• Press officer Mathilde Emilie Johnsen, tel 930 39 702



Stein-Inge Århus

Press contact Head of Communications +47 452 40 092