Solveig Øvstebø

For the first time in almost forty years, the Renaissance Society, the contemporary art museum in Hyde Park, announced the hiring of a new executive director. Meet Solveig Øvstebø, the Norwegian transplant who is set to replace Susanne Ghez next year. She’ll hit the ground running, too—the Renaissance Society will celebrate it’s 100th anniversary in 2015.

We’re still sorting through all the news out there about her, but here’s what we know so far:

  • For the non-Norwegian speakers, her name is pronounced Săl-vēg ōvst-‘ē-bō.
  • She was born in Chicago in 1973—as in a year before her Ghez started as the executive director.
  • For ten years, she’s been the director of the Bergen Kunsthall (in case you forgot the 1973 above, that means she was acting head of a major art institution at age 29. Not that we’re feeling unaccomplished or anything).
  • If Google translate has done its job and this article from Norway’s tabloid Dagbladet is accurate, then she sounds like a thoughtful manager, one who includes receptionists and technicians in art town halls. (Also, points for sassing the interviewer at the end).
  • She’ll move here with her partner and daughter. We recommend Andersonville—a perfect neighborhood for the art-loving family. It’s a trek from Hyde Park, but the traditional Swedish baked goods sweeten the deal (and the Red Line to the #6 bus isn’t that bad).
  • While we’re on the topic of Scandinavia, we’re hopeful that we can add Øvstebø to our list of beloved imports—Robyn, smoked fish, sweaters, Hans Christian Andersen, Little Dragon, Wallandar, and an oldie-but-a-goodie, Vikings.
  • She’ll start in June 2013. Gratulerer, Solveig!


Photograph: Paul S. Amundsen