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The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Photo: The National Museum/Frode Larsen
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Photo: The National Museum/Frode Larsen

Press release -

The National Museum of Norway announces bold new partnership, championing cutting-edge performance art in the region and beyond

The Norwegian National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is delighted to announce a bold new partnership with prominent collector Lise M. Stolt-Nielsen and her children to present a dynamic decade-long performance programme, titled What is performance?

We are very proud to announce this long-term investment in performance art for the National Museum. We wish to present a variety of proposals of what performance art can be, and to provide context for and contributions to the central position performance art has in contemporary art today.

– Ingrid Røynesdal, Director of the National Museum of Norway

The first edition will run in June 2025, with new work commissioned from leading local and international performance artists each year, alongside a lively discursive programme aimed at creating a more inclusive dialogue about what performance is today while tracing the rich global genealogy of the genre.

The initiative is driven by a shared interest in fostering new areas of research and rooted in a belief that performance art has played a fundamental role in the development of art history since the 20th century. The programme will seek to push the boundaries of the medium, exploring connections with dance, literature, theatre and music to ask what this fluid genre can offer as synthesis, experience, and expression in a contemporary museum context.

- Performance art has a special place in my heart. I am delighted to collaborate with the National Museum on the promotion of performance art, and I hope that the programme can foster interest and enthusiasm for the artform in all its different shapes.

– Lise M. Stolt-Nielsen

The discursive programme will call on experts locally and from around the world to tackle important questions around the museums’ role in the production, collection, dissemination, and conservation of performance and unpack the consequences of the institutionalization of performance art in recent decades.

Artwork commissions will be announced in due course and will be selected by an advisory committee consisting of: Stina Högkvist (Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the National Museum), Geir Haraldseth (Curator at the National Museum) and Klaus Biesenbach (Director of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin).

About the donation:
Lise M. Stolt-Nielsen and her children will sponsor the National Museum of Norway performance programme over a period of ten years. Stolt-Nielsen is a collector, a trustee at MoMA PS1 and was part of the Commissioning Council for the 2023 Performa Biennial. Through this initiative, the Stolt-Nielsen family hope to make a significant contribution to the Norwegian art scene and the promotion of Norwegian and international performance art.


The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is the largest art museum in the Nordics. The collection contains 400,000 objects ranging from the antiquity to the present day and includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles, furniture and architectural models. The new museum building opened in June 2022. At the National Museum visitors can experience a comprehensive Collection presentation of around 6,500 works, as well as a varied programme of temporary exhibitions and events. 


Simen Joachim Helsvig

Simen Joachim Helsvig

Press contact Communications advisor +47 917 64 327