press release


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 focuses on on experimental art from the period 1965 to 1975.

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 addresses 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? is the first-ever major presentation on Danish soil of experimental art from the period 1965 to 1975. It shows 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.