ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 1 - Winter

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 67 of 123

VISIONARY FROM LEFT: Solveig Øvstebø at The Renaissance Society, where she is now executive director; new work from Nora Schultz, Øvstebø's first exhibit at the Ren. Renaissance Woman I n Scandinavia, Solveig Øvstebø (pronounced SAUL-vyg UHVST-eh-BUH) is considered one of the foremost scholars of contemporary art, but her recent arrival in Chicago is still a homecoming of sorts. Born in the Windy City, Øvstebø was raised in Norway and made her impact as director of the renowned Bergen Kunsthall for 10 years. Now she has returned stateside to become executive director and chief curator of the prestigious Renaissance Society, the institution's first new leader in nearly 40 years. The art expert recently chatted with Michigan Avenue about coming back to Chicago, her vision for "the Ren," and how the Windy City cultural scene compares to the one she left behind. Having been born in Chicago but leaving at such a young age, do you still feel a connection to the city? I've always had that [birth connection], but I didn't know the city. What I knew most about Chicago actually was The Renaissance Society as a 66 professional in the contemporary art field. Why did the Ren stand out for you? The Renaissance Society has such a strong voice in the international art scene, so I followed their programs. Not to say that I didn't know that Chicago was a beautiful city, but I was following more closely the program at the Ren. What about the Ren's philosophy made this position appeal to you? The Renaissance Society is a very independent and flexible institution, and very focused. It has shown an enormous will to go in depth and work on the terms of the art and of the artists. That's very interesting to me. Also I would say the Ren is uncompromising in a very positive way; they seemed very focused on actually making very good exhibitions. Your first exhibit as the executive director features Nora Schultz; why kick off your career at the Ren with that particular artist? continued on page 68 PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIA PONCE BERRE ART HISTORIAN AND CURATOR SOLVEIG ØVSTEBØ UNVEILS HER FIRST EXHIBITION AS THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY. BY J.P. ANDERSON MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 066-068_MA_SC_ThoughtLeader_Winter_14.indd 66 1/10/14 2:18 PM

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