Museum talks: Ann Demeester

Our first guest in this series is Ann Demeester, director of Kunsthaus Zürich. She will be discussing the role of the curatorial in the museum with MUNCH director Tone Hansen.


Sky Room // Livestream

Doors open: 18:30
Start: 19:00 - Please allow plenty of time to get to the 12th floor
Info: Limited capacity, please arrive early to secure a seat.
A live stream will be set up in Amfi once we reach max capacity in the Sky Room

This event will also be streamed live here

Through this series, MUNCH invites key practitioners in the field, who are rethinking the role of the museum, to bring their unique perspectives to Oslo.

We ask:

How can art museums be relevant public arenas for discussion? How can we contribute meaningfully to the artistic ecosystem? How can large-scale institutions operate sustainably with transparency and kindness? How can we include marginalized groups and develop new voices? What is the role of the curatorial in museums, and how can we nurture experimentation whilst retaining long-term research perspectives? 

Art museums are part of an ecosystem of smaller and mid-size art institutions, galleries, and individual artists and practitioners. In Norway, a number of museums were consolidated after the government’s museum reform of 2003. That meant more power and financial resources distributed across fewer institutions. This has strengthened the economy of some museums, but it has also entailed shifts in power dynamics, greater bureaucracy, and expectations of higher visitor numbers. 

Since the move from Tøyen to Bjørvika, MUNCH has wanted to challenge what a museum can be. The contemporary art project Munchmuseet on the Move (2015–2020) formed a bridge between the old and the new museum. It was collaborative and inspired by the artist-initiated Prosjekt i Gamlebyen (PiG) from 1994. As a two-year-old institution on the waterfront of Bjørvika, with a greater mandate from the City of Oslo, it is more important than ever to discuss the role of the museum. MUNCH would like to continue to acknowledge and support the crucial work of promoting art in the city and provide artists with the opportunity to develop new projects. MUNCH sees that the precarious studio situation in Oslo is a major challenge for the possibilities for artists to live and work in the city. 

Several institutions in Oslo have contributed to the programming, including UKS – the Young Artists’ Association, Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Oslo Kunstforening, Nitja, Podium, Kunstnernes Hus, Fotogalleriet and The Norwegian Association of Curators.

Ann Demeester (b. 1975 in Bruges, Belgium) has been the director of Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland’s largest art museum, since January 2023. She is formerly the director of the Frans Hals Museum | De Hallen in Haarlem (2014–2021). From 2006 to 2014 she was director of de Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam and Head of de Appel Curatorial Programme. Early in her career, Demeester var part of Jan Hoet’s curatorial team at the Museum of Contemporary Art – S.M.A.K. in Ghent. As an art critic and journalist, she has written articles for several Belgian newspapers, and has hosted various art TV programmes on Dutch National Television. 

Tone Hansen (b. 1970, Kirkenes, Norway/Sápmi) has been director of MUNCH since October 2022. She is the former director of Henie Onstad Art Centre (2011–2022). Here, she led a comprehensive rehabilitation of the 1960s building and established a strong artistic profile with an extensive live programme, topical thematic group exhibitions, and important solo presentations. Hansen was an operative chair of UKS – the Young Artists’ Association from 2003 to 2005. From 2016 to 2019, she was the leader of the Norwegian Arts Council. She chairs the board of Posten Moderne, a new private museum in Trondheim that opens in 2024. 

Photo © Franca Candrian, Kunsthaus Zürich