After six years, Solveig Øvstebø will leave her position as executive director and chief curator of the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society museum, one of the Windy City’s most closely watched contemporary art spaces. In a release issued on Monday evening, the Renaissance Society said that Øvstebø will depart in February, with plans to “return with her family to Norway.”
“It has been a true honor to serve this institution and to work with such brilliant artists, inspiring colleagues, and devoted donors over these last seven years,” Øvstebø said in a statement. “In announcing my departure now, I wanted to ensure ample time for the transition as I continue working with the Ren’s amazing staff and supportive board. I will relish my final months and I greatly look forward to the next chapter for this extraordinary institution.”
Øvstebø has directed the Renaissance Society since 2013. Her curatorial credits include solo shows of work by Paul McCarthy, Alejandro Cesarco, Jennifer Packer, Shadi Habib Allah, and more. Still to come are exhibitions by Silke Otto-Knapp and LaToya Ruby Frazier.
Her departure marks a return to her home country, where she had previously served as the director of the Bergen Konsthall from 2003 and 2013. When Øvstebø’s appointment was announced in 2012, it was the first time the Renaissance Society had named a new director in 40 years. (Its prior director was Susanne Ghez, who later became an adjunct curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.)
Richard Wright, the president of the Renaissance Society’s board, said, “We are deeply grateful to Solveig for her inspiring leadership, distinctive vision, and boundless energy, which has sustained us and moved us forward. What she has accomplished is tremendous, and it leaves the Renaissance Society in a stronger place, poised for the future.”