Greg Cameron, President of the Board of The Renaissance Society
at The University of Chicago, an internationally renowned contemporary art museum, today announced the appointment of Solveig Øvstebø (Săl-vēg ōvst-ē-bō) as the organizations first new Executive Director in nearly 40 years. Øvstebø is currently the director of Bergen Kunsthall, a premier avant garde contemporary art space in her native Norway. She is expected to start at The Renaissance Society in June 2013 and until that time, current longtime Executive Director Susanne Ghez will remain at the helm; a position she has held since 1974.
The Renaissance Society has built a reputation for being artist-focused and identifying new art that is conceptually rigorous and formally strong, said Cameron. Solveig has demonstrated her curatorial muscle and her intellectual power. With her keen eye for talented artists and important art, she will move the institution forward. The board is excited to bring her to Chicago, confident that our citys cultural landscape, and the art community around the world, will be enriched by her contributions.
Solveig has a strong artistic vision along with experience in building an institution. She will be an outstanding leader for The Renaissance Society as it prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015. She comes to Chicago with a demonstrated commitment to supporting artists who are creating important new work. The international art community will be rewarded with an exciting and strong curatorial vision, added Ghez.
As Executive Director of The Renaissance Society, Øvstebø will serve as the chief curator and oversee museum operations and a staff of eight. She will be responsible for the museums overall management, including its exhibitions and programs, its physical, financial and human resources, and its future growth and development.
"I am very excited and honored to take on the task of directing The Renaissance Society, an institution that I have followed and admired for so long. With its artistic independence, uncompromising programming and the will to let artists work in-depth with new art production, The Renaissance Society forms a unique platform in the contemporary institutional landscape. I am truly looking forward to taking part in the continuation of this important institution, said Øvstebø.
Øvstebø, an art historian and curator, arrives at The Renaissance Society with a distinguished record of professional accomplishments. She has served as the director of Bergen Kunsthall since 2003, developing it into one of the main European contemporary art institutions with a focus on production, research and discourse. She has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions, including Slide Richard Tuttle (2012), Gabriel Kuri (2012), Tretrachromat Tauba Auerbach (2011), Christopher Williams (2011), Gambaroff, Krebber, Quaytman, Rayne (2010), Looking is Political: Nairy Baghramian, Bojan Sarcevic, Ane Hjort Guttu (2009), Stephen Prina (2009), Rosalind Nasashibi (2009), Sergej Jenssen (2008), Leibhaftige Malerei Jxxxa: Jutta Koether (2008), Center of Gravity: Runa Islam (2007), Awakenings: Rodney Graham (2006), Shifting Shifting: Aernout Mik (2006) and The Welfare Show: Elmgreen & Dragset (2005). Øvstebø has also taught art theory and art history at the art academies of Helsinki, Finland, and Bergen, Norway, and has written and lectured extensively on contemporary art. She is a board member of Arts Council Norway and was head organizer of the Bergen Biennnial Conference in Bergen, Norway, in September 2009, which led to the anthology The Biennial Reader which she edited together with Elena Filipovic and Marieke Van Hal. She arrives in Chicago with her partner and their baby girl.