My pal Richard Prince had a large exhibition at Oslo's Astrup Fearnley Museum, the best contemporary collection in Norway. The night we arrived we dined at Mr. Fearnley's country house, a fantastic old farmhouse about a half-hour from the center of Oslo. This eighteenth-century wooden house was painted-wood, inside and out, in the traditional manner, and is furnished with wonderful painted antiques, oriental rugs, beautiful paintings, stucco fireplaces burning birch logs, and not a few hunting trophies collected by Mr. Fearnley, including a very large moosehead and a big polar bear who is now a rug. One of our party was heard to mutter, "Ralph Lauren, eat your heart out."
It is certainly a very appealing and beautifully decorated residence. We had dinner in a sixteenth-century cottage that had been brought down from the mountains. It was decorated inside with elaborate paintings, including depictions, probably based on hearsay, of elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. An utterly charming dining room. When you enter and leave you must duck down, as the door is about four-feet high. I was told this was a defensive measure. Invaders would have to bend down to enter, enabling the resident to chop their heads off with ease. The next day I admired some replica Viking axes in a souvenir shop and thought about making short screen doors for my country house.
Richard's opening was a roaring success, attended by hundreds of Oslo art lovers as well as some friends from London and New York. It was Mr.Prince's first show devoted only to painting (there were thirty-one in the show) and sculpture (hoods and book plinths), and it was stunning. I noticed the public spent considerable time examining the new "De Kooning" paintings.
We did lots of fun things in Oslo, including devouring reindeer and moose and Swedish caviar, drinking local beer and Italian and French wine, and hanging out at the Theater Café in the National Theater, an old hangout of Ibsen's. It feels like Vienna but the art on the walls is all from Norwegian artists who have been habitués of the place over the last hundred years or so.
A Prince "De Kooning."
At the Theater Café, where the steak tartare would please even the most discriminating Tartar, London art dealer Sadie Coles and photography Johnny Shand-Kydd:
Glenn and Richard:
New York art dealers Per Skarstedt and Barbara Gladstone (she's the pretty one):
New York dealer Stellan Holm with mega-collector Pauline Karpidas, who operates the very important Hydra Workshop on that modest-sized Greek island.
The gent in orange with Max Falkenstein of the Barbara Gladstone Gallery is Erling Kagge. He's a collector, but he's also an adventurer. He was the first man to walk alone to the South Pole, and in one year he went to the South Pole, the North Pole, and the top of Mount Everest. As a result he hasn't spent that much time at nightclubs.
Erling took us to a nightclub called Cosmo. Here's their wallpaper:
And Richard at Cosmo with artist Nate Lowman, (wearing aNYthing) who did a great visual essay for the exhibition catalog, "Canaries in a Coalmine." It was a New York-style club—lots of velvet ropes and a too-tight door and overpriced Champagne.
The next night Stellan and I discovered a more fun club, Bla, pronounced blue, where people danced like it was the early eighties. Here's what one of the several girls I danced with looked like at 3 A.M.: