The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is a privately owned contemporary art gallery in Oslo in Norway. It was founded and opened to the public in 1993.The collection's main focus is the American appropriation artists from the 1980s, but it is currently developing towards the international contemporary art scene, with artists like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Matthew Barney, Tom Sachs, Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson and Cai Guo-Qiang. The museum gives 6-7 temporary exhibitions each year. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art collaborates with international institutions, and produces exhibitions that travels worldwide.
The museum opened in 1993, and was funded by two philanthropic foundations established by descendants of the Fearnley shipping family, the Thomas Fearnley Foundation and the Heddy and Nils Astrup Foundation.
The two foundations merged in 1995 to become the Thomas Fearnley, Heddy and Nils Astrup Foundation. The Thomas Fearnley Foundation was established by shipping magnate Thomas Fearnley (1880–1961) in 1939; he was the son of shipping magnate Thomas Fearnley (1841–1927) and grandson of romantic painter Thomas Fearnley. The Heddy and Nils Astrup Foundation was named for Nils Ebbessøn Astrup, who was a maternal grandson of Thomas Fearnley (1841–1927).
The museum created a stir in the international art world in 2002 when it purchased the American artist Jeff Koons's monumental sculpture in gilt porcelain of the pop star Michael Jackson with Bubbles, his favorite chimpanzee, for US$5.1 million.
The permanent collection consists of works of Norwegian and International Contemporary Art.The museum collection was originally based on a private collection that goes back thirty years, and has significantly developed with the many changes in modern/contemporary art. There has been an interest in German Abstract Expressionism, English modern painting, and the Young British Artists. Presently the collection is orientated towards the young American art scene. It also encompasses works pertaining to the steadily increasing global art community. The main areas of curatorial expertise in the museum are art from the 1960s to the present, including American and European pop-art, post-modern appropriation art of the 1980s and international contemporary art. Much needed additional space will be provided by 2012 when the museum moves into two new buildings designed by Renzo Piano. The collection includes works by artists such as;
Janine Antoni, Francis Bacon, Matthew Barney, Dado, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Cai Guo-Qiang, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Bjarne Melgaard, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince, Charles Ray, Jason Rhoades, Gerhard Richter, Tom Sachs, Cindy Sherman, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Andy Warhol.
This private contemporary-art museum resides in an arresting, silvered-wood building designed by Renzo Piano, with a sail-like glass roof that feels both maritime and at one with the Oslofjord landscape.
The temporary shows range from the monographic, say Dan Colen or Norwegian artist Fredrik Værslev, to thematically tight, curated surveys such as New Norwegian Abstraction or Chinese conceptual work. There are guided tours (50kr) at 2pm and 3pm each Sunday..