Making art available to everyone

TEXT: JOSEFINE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTOS © RANDERS KUNSTMUSEUM

Even in a small country like Denmark, travelling across the country in 1887 to visit museums and other cultural destinations was expensive and out of bounds for many. A group of art enthusiasts in Randers set out to make it easier and more local and, in 1887, set up what is now Randers Kunstmuseum (Randers Art Museum), home to some of the most exquisite Danish art from 1790 to the modern day.

“The aim then was to create a space in which people could learn about and experience high-quality art and culture, and that’s still an aim we have today,” says Lise Jeppesen, director of the museum. The museum has become a cultural hub that not only displays some of Denmark’s biggest artists, but also opens its doors to public discussions and numerous events each year.

“Whenever we put on a new exhibition, there is always an element of history and perspectivation both nationally and internationally. It’s important to us that it’s not all about Danish art, but instead how it fits in with the art dialogues that are happening regardless of borders,” the director explains. Randers Kunstmuseum also has strong connections with other art museums across the world, who borrow from and lend pieces to each other.

Opening the doors for enjoyment

Throughout the year, there are four to six special exhibitions alongside about 100 public events, with everything from yoga in the museum to talks from high-profile art connoisseurs. “The museum should be and is used by everyone. It’s a space where art lovers can come in and have a fantastic time, but it is also a space where people can learn and explore more about art,” explains Jeppesen. This is reflected in the many public events, but also in the way the exhibitions are put on, to show the history and artistic development as well as putting the art into the historical and modern-day context.

There is plenty of art to explore, spanning many decades and including names such as Sven Dalsgaard, who lived and died in Randers; Vilhelm Hammerhøi, L. A. Ring, Anna Ancher, Asger Jorn, Poul Anker Bech, Martin Bigum, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. This wide range of artists and styles means that Randers Kunstmuseum has become known as the miniature version of Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark’s national art museum in Copenhagen, a name it certainly lives up to.

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