Oslo has fast become the artistic hub of Scandinavia with its increasingly contemporary architecture as well as galleries and art museums featuring both traditional and modern art.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Set along a boulevard in Oslo’s Frogner Park, Vigeland consists of 212 eye-catching sculptures made from bronze and granite, spread over an 850-meter axis from the entrance to the park’s centerpiece, The Monolith. The sculptures consist of naked human figures, in all variety of poses and situations – from the pastoral to the surreal and some may say, even scary. Impressively, Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and it's clear to see through his work, an exploration of the human condition dominated his work.
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
The Henie Onstad Art Center is beautifully situated along the Oslo Fjord to the west of the city. The building was donated by Olympic ice skating champion Sonja Henie and her husband, Niels Onstad, a ship owner and art collector. The center exhibits both modernist and contemporary art. In addition to the permanent collection, which includes works by Kåre Kivijärvi and Kurt Schwitters, the centre hosts 6–7 temporary exhibitions each year.
Astrup Fearnley Museet
Opened in Oslo in 1993, this is the premier place to see modern art in the heart of Oslo. Designed by famed architect, Renzo Piano, the man behind international buildings such as the Shard in London and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The museum has an important collection of Norwegian and international art, with works by Francis Bacon, Cindy Sherman and Damien Hirst. Throughout the year, the museum also holds several exhibitions featuring key artists. For their full programme visit their website.
Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park
Tjuvholmen sculpture park is a fairly recent arrival on the Oslo art scene and offers many interesting sculptural pieces by way of modern art. As the name indicates, it is situated on Tjuvholmen, close to Aker Brygge and in association with the Astrup Fearnley Museet. Here you can view works by artists such as Anish Kapoor (who created Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, in Chicago) and Louise Bourgeois (see image above). If it’s a hot day, you can also take a dip at the new beach created here, or sip a cocktail in the rooftop bar of The Thief hotel - where incidentally, you can spot more art.
This gallery specialises in photography and displays the best of Norwegian and international photo art. Images by Norwegian photographers Dag Alveng and Tom Sandberg have been exhibited here, as have fashion photographers Sølve Sundsbø and Paolo Roversi. The gallery was designed by famed architectural firm, Snøhetta - who created the Oslo Opera House - and is located in the Barcode district close to the Opera House.
Last, but by no means least is the Munch Museum, dedicated to the work of Norway's most famous artist ever lived: Edvard Munch. The collection was left to the city of Oslo by the artist, consists of paintings, graphical prints and drawings. By constantly changing the exhibitions, the museum presents the variety and depth of his work. Audio tours are available in Norwegian and in English, and a film on Edvard Munch's life is shown throughout the day to add context to the period he was working within. The emotions pour out of Munch's canvases, and as a viewer its difficult not to absorb the sadness, pain, tension, despair, and longing captured for us.
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