Art produced in the Nordic countries was seen as peripheral in the late nineteenth century, the period in which the “Modern Breakthrough” was understood to occur. By the time of the 1912 Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne and the Scandinavian Exhibition in the US in 1913, a strong Nordic presence signaled that the periphery had become central; the art market in the 1980s suggested a second spike of interest. Appeals to “the North,” with its associations of climate, temperature, and temperament; and carrying hidden or overt ethnic and topological associations; have often accompanied the identities of the artists who pass into the international art world.



This conference examines the paths, strategies, critical relationships, gallery alliances, curatorial efforts, artist-driven organizations, cult of celebrity, national identity initiatives, and other pathways through which Edvard Munch and his contemporaries entered the international art market and critical discourse. Papers will consider individual artists, debates around national identity, collecting patterns, ethnic mythologies, individual exhibitions, universal expositions, critical writing, gallerists, collectors, technoscapes, and other pathways and mechanisms by which Nordic artists, and Munch in particular, became and continues to become part of international networks and markets.

“Marketing The North” will coincide with the opening of the exhibition The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography, on view at Scandinavia House through March 5, 2018. This exhibition runs concurrent to, and complements, Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, on view at the Met Breuer. It has been organized by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in partnership with The Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. View the exhibition info here.

The conference is organized by the “Munch, Modernism, and Modernity” research network, presented by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and sponsored by the Munch Museum, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, and the University of Oslo.



6:00 PM—Keynote Address, “How to Save Munch from His Own Reputation”—Mieke Bal, University of Amsterdam


9:00 AM—Keynote Address, “Why Munch?”—Robert Jensen, University of Kentucky

10:45 AM—Panel I, “Artistic Self Fashioning”

Chair: Patricia Berman, Wellesley College

Michelle Facos, Indiana University
Mai Britt Guleng, National Gallery, Oslo
Caitlin Haskell, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Jacob Thage, Director, Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark

SATURDAY (Continued)

2:00 PM—Panel II, “Exhibitions and Internationalization”

Chair: Ute Kuhlemann-Falck, Munch Museum

Gerd Woll, Munch Museum
Marja Lahelma, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Øivind Storm-Bjerke, University of Oslo
Lars Toft-Eriksen, Munch Museum and University of Oslo

3:45 PM—Panel III, “National Branding”

Chair: Øystein Sjåstad, University of Oslo

Sigrid Lien, University of Bergen
MaryAnne Stevens, Independent Scholar, London
Wenche Volle, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
Jay Clarke, Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, MA

5:30 PM—Commentary and Q&A

Thor Mednick, University of Toledo



Edvard Munch, Train Smoke, 1900, (Detail), Munch Museum, Oslo

FRI—11-17-2017 & SAT—11-18-2017
$20 ($10 ASF Members & Students)