CURATING A HOTEL
CURATING THE THIEF
“Hotels are about dream-making, about creating a story you want to tell."
“We’ve got all the ‘stuff’,” says Petter A. Stordalen, owner of The Thief in Oslo. “King-size beds, huge TVs, but it’s the art—lots of art—that gives this hotel a different profile.” The works that enliven the walls of The Thief are far from an artless afterthought. They were each handpicked by celebrated curator Sune Nordgren, former director of Norway’s National Museum of Art. For The Thief, Nordgren gathered the likes of Sir Peter Blake, Camilla Løw, HM Queen Sonja, Magne Furuholmen, Julian Opie and Tony Cragg , with many more local and international artists to come.
This makes The Thief almost a museum in its own right, which is appropriate when one considers its location. Next door is the Astrup Fearnley Museum, a spectacular building by Renzo Piano. “Piano’s work is unbelievable,” says Stordalen, “and so is the collection. A 45,000-square-foot exhibition area featuring Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney. Then outside there’s a Piano-designed sculpture park, with a lovely beach and green lawns with trees alongside works by the likes of Anish Kapoor and Ellsworth Kelly.”
Stordalen’s passion for The Thief’s private art collection extends to the creative lures of the entire district, and he is quick to recommend many local gallerists. He cites Marit Gillespie and Kim Brandstrup at nearby Gallery Brandstrup who are—“very good at representing some of the driving forces of innovation within Nordic contemporary art,” he says. Other standout galleries include Peder Lund and Gerhardsen , a new Oslo outpost of the Berlin-based gallery Gerhardsen Gerner and Stolper + Friends, owned by Magne Furuholmen, Hugo Opdal, and Paul Stolper, which shows a blend of Scandinavian and British art. It was from Stolper that a number of key pieces at The Thief were sourced, including the Sir Peter Blake originals “The Oslo Suite” .