Oslo’s city council has finally okayed a plan to build a new Munch Museum in the Norwegian capital, News in English reports. The museum is estimated to cost 2.8 billion Norwegian kroner ($430 million). It will replace an aging structure in the city’s Tøyen neighborhood.
The announcement follows years of political wrangling over the funding and location of the new museum, causing significant delays in the planned start-date for construction. “Munch’s art is much more important abroad than many in Oslo realize,” city politician Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund told News in English. Construction on the museum will now begin next year and is estimated to be completed in 2019.
According to Oslo city culture chief Hallstein Bjercke, those delays will cost taxpayers an estimated 10 million kroner ($1.5 million) in increased construction costs each month of delay. Construction was expected to begin in April of next year if funding was approved by government before September of this year. Speaking to Local, Bjercke said that, due to the delays in government, workers will not break ground on the so-called Lambda building until the summer.
Politicians haven’t been the only parties blocking the new Munch Museum’s path. Earlier this month, a group of approximately 20 prominent Norwegian artists opposed the new museum’s construction. They claimed that the planning committee for the museum failed to include a single artist or member of the Munch Museum’s staff when selecting a design for the new institution. They also claimed that the Lambda building, which will sit next to the city’s opera house, is an inappropriate structure in which to house Munch’s oeuvre, citing worries about its glass-enclosed, skyscraper design.
However, a government official told Norway’s Aftenposten that Munch Museum officials were “highly enthusiastic” about the design. She added that Munch’s art “will be well taken care in this new building. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that. The museum is a concrete structure covered with glass. Temperatures and reflection will be regulated.”Follow artnet News on Facebook.