On Collecting: From a Public, Private, and Personal Perspective

Collectors – Teapot (2013) Artist: Yuka Oyama, C-print, various sizes
International seminar, The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Oslo, 13 October 2016

Contributors: Dr Margaret Wasz  I Dr Knut Ljøgodt  I  Yuka Oyama  I  Trude Schjelderup Iversen  I  Eivind Furnesvik  I  Nanna Melland  I  Petter Snare

Moderator: Liesbeth den Besten

ON COLLECTING: In a Public, Private and Personal Perspective discussed private and public collecting, including the personal and psychological aspects of collecting art.

The seminar was a collaboration between KORO (Public Art Norway) and Norwegian Crafts and took place on the 13th of October at The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Oslo, Norway.

Art collectors and collections make up an important part of the contemporary arts and crafts infrastructure. To collect is a selection process which has economic, social, political, psychological and art-historical implications and ramifications, not only for artists whose works are collected, but for the general field of art and the wider public.

While private collectors choose art according to taste, and support the artists they find most interesting from a personal perspective, museums and organisations collecting for the public are obliged to collect works that represent significant cultural and historical tendencies and discourses. Public museums also collect on behalf of future generations, without necessarily thinking about art as an investment in the financial sense.

In the seminar we wanted to look closer at the following issues:

- How do the dynamics between artists, galleries, art fairs, and private and public collectors influence the field of art and the art market?

- What financial, political and cultural structures are responsible for how works of art become “collectible” and thus available to the public in museums and public spaces?


Dr. Margaret Wasz, Consultant Existential Analyst, holds a PhD in Existential Phenomenological Psychotherapy, an MPhil in Psychoanalytical Studies, an MA in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy, H Dip in Psychology, and Cert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  Her particular area of interest is Existentialism and Phenomenology and how we can move beyond the given to see the real and understand existence and the psychological experience in the world. Margaret spent a year in New York studying Yoga Science & Philosophy and the use of Mindfulness in psychology and in its application in the treatment of particular mental illnesses. Her experience is drawn from her work both in Ireland and Japan, Australia, India, China, Romania and USA. She is in private practice and works as an external consultant in the private health care industry. She is currently involved in researching anxiety and the endocrine system and is writing a psychological thriller.

Dr.philos. Knut Ljøgodt (born 1968) is an art historian who studied at the University of Oslo and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He receved his doctorate from the University of Tromsø - Norway's Arctic University. Ljøgodt is an experienced museum leader and curator, who was the director of Northern Norway Art Museum 2008-16, and formerly a curator in the National Gallery. During his years as director of Northern Norway Art Museum, he focused on building the collection through acqusitions and donations, and thus managed to secure the institution more than 600 works of art. His latest publication, Treasures, is about collecting.

Trude Schjelderup Iversen (b. 1974) is a curator, an art theorist and a critic. She is previous director of UKS, Young Artist Society (2001-2005), Ph.D. Candidate in art theory (University of Oslo 2007-d.d), curatorial resident and lecturer in contemporary art theory at Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (2008-2009). Her writings has appeared in numerous journals, periodicals, catalogues, magazines and books including Lights On (Astrup Fearley Museum), Red Hook Journal (CCS Bard College) Capital it Fails us Now (edited by Simon Sheikh), Art and its Institutions (edited by Nina Montmann). Her books include The New Administration of Aesthetics (Torpedo Press 2007) co-edited with Tone Hansen, Critical Issues in Public Art – The Reader (2016) co-edited with Nora C. Nerdrum and Migration and Architecture (fall 2016). She works as a curator at Public Art Norway. She was the initiator and programmer of the lecture series Critical Issues in Public Art, KORO, a much visited platform for discussing current conditions for art in public space today. Current curatorial projects include a new public project with American artist Suzanne Lacy; a collaboration with KORO and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter to be realized in Bærum in 2018. Migration and Architecture, a long-term collaboration with Norwegian artist Knut Åsdam consisting of three new commissioned works by Åsdam and a publication (2016). In 2015 Schjelderup Iversen was appointed curator for the art project initiated by the Norwegian Parliament. Focusing on the current idea and understanding of “New Materialism” the project explores the legacy and rich tradition of Norwegian female artist who use textile as a main component in their art meant for public space.

Yuka Oyama was born in Tokyo and grew up in Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia. She received her BFA (Jewelry and Light Metals) at Rhode Island School of Design in the USA and MA at Munich Art Academy (Art Jewelry and Sculpture) in Germany under the tuitions of Otto Künzli (Jewelry Art) and Asta Gröting (Sculpture). Since 2012, she has been an artistic research fellow at Art and Craft of Oslo National Academy of Arts. Oyama adapts wearable sculptures that are enacted through performance, documented in photography and film, presented in installations.

Eivind Furnesvik (b. 1973) is founding director of STANDARD (OSLO). He is trained as an art historian with education from the University of Bergen and University College of Dublin. 

Nanna Melland has more than 15 years of experience as a professional artist. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions, symposia, and workshops in Norway and internationally since 2001. Melland is the recipient of several prices, and a number of her works have also been bought by public and private collections in Norway and abroad. Her work is represented in a variety of publications. Melland teaches and gives lectures in schools in Norway and Europe. She has a broad, interdisciplinary education: Diploma from the Art academy in Munich; trained as a goldsmith at Elvebakken Technical School, Oslo; and Candidata Magister in history of religion and social anthropology from the University of Oslo. She has been selected for two commissions as representative of the Norwegian Crafts Organization in the Committee of Public Art in Oslo, and leader of the Norwegian Craft Acquisition Fund.

Petter Snare is a collector and art book publisher. Petter Snare has been collecting for more than 15 years and has extensive experience from all sides of the visual art field. He currently serves as chair for Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen Assembly and Kunstkritikk.no as well as running the art book publishing house Teknisk Industri.

Liesbeth den Besten (Amsterdam) is an independent art historian who is working internationally as a writer, curator, advisor, jury member, exhibition maker, teacher and lecturer in the field of crafts and design, especially contemporary jewellery. She curated exhibitions for different museums in the Netherlands and abroad. She is  chair of the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation www.francoisevandenbosch.nl,  and member of the AJF board www.artjewelryforum.org. She is the author of On Jewellery, a compendium of international contemporary art jewellery (Arnoldsche 2011, reprinted in 2012) www.arnoldsche.com/, and contributed to many publications. She teaches jewellery history at Sint Lucas Academy in Antwerp