New exhibition

What is art? What is its purpose? What does it do? And what happens, when art is torn from its frame and removed from its plinth?

Period: 26 March - 2 August 2015

Entrance fee: 110 kr. (young people under 27: 85 kr.)

What's Happening?

Art was torn from the frames and down from the pedestals. It mixed and merged with popular culture, everyday life, fashion, sexual liberation, and the new women’s movement.

A new generation of artists, writers, and critics no longer inquired into what art is, but rather into what art does. The view of what it meant to be an artist changed too, giving rise to new, collective working processes and manifestations.

The What’s Happening? exhibition focused on experimental art from the period 1965 to 1975.

© Marina Abramović, Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, 1975

© Kirsten Justesen, Lunch, 1975
© Kirsten Justesen, Lunch, 1975

© Kirsten Justesen, Skulptur II, 1968

© VALIE EXPORT, Tapp und Tastkino, 1968

The exhibition poster

On 29 May 1969 at 15:30 a naked woman holding a cross walked through the main hall at the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. The woman was Lene Adler Pedersen, and she and Bjørn Nørgaard were the artists behind this action, where a female incarnation of Christ confronted the male-dominated sacred halls of capitalism.

The action lasted only a few minutes; after this point the couple jumped into a taxi and hurried off. But their action still stands today as an important testament to art’s new role as a vehicle for social critique.

The major spring exhibition at the SMK in 2015 addressed art’s movement away from established institutions and the art scene’s keen involvement in a society that was undergoing rapid change.

The exhibition What’s Happening? was the first-ever major presentation on Danish soil of experimental art from the period 1965 to 1975. It showed how art interacted with the rapidly changing everyday lives of ordinary people, the sexual liberation, the new women’s movement, and the radical trends of the time within youth and popular culture, technology, fashion, and media.

Excerpt from "Tornerose var et vakkert barn" by Kirsten Justesen and Jytte Rex, 1971.

Kirsten Justesen (1943- ) and Jytte Rex (1942- ), Sleeping Beauty, 1971

Introduction to the exhibition

The 60s and 70s was a time of upheaval in the arts.

Kirsten Justesen (1943- ) and Jytte Rex (1942- ), Sleeping Beauty, 1971
© Kirsten Justesen (1943- ) og Jytte Rex (1942- ), Tornerose var et vakkert barn, 1971

Sleeping Beauty

With their 1971 work Sleeping Beauty, Kirsten Justesen and Jytte Rex gave a provocative view of reality.

The Stock Exchange happening

The Stock Exchange happening

One day in 1969 a naked woman holding a cross walked through the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

Ursula Reuter Christiansen: Kvinder frem
© Ursula Reuter Christiansen (1943- ), kvinde frem!, 1971

Women forward!

The women's movement as a collective movement for a common cause. Explore  Ursula Reuter Christiansen's work.

Poul Gernes: Untitled

Gernes' dots

The twenty images in Poul Gernes' big series from 1968-69 all depict dots.