Year of Queer Culture 2022

Welcome to the Year of Queer Culture at KODE!  

2022 marks fifty years since homosexuality was decriminalized in Norway. This important milestone in Norwegian history will be commemorated throughout the whole country with a Year of Queer Culture. 

By presenting narratives of gender and sexual diversity from both the past and the present, the Year of Queer Culture at KODE challenges the invisibility that shrouds the stories of LGBT people. The concept of queerness is not only about non-normative sexualities, but also about breaking away from gender norms. How does this manifest itself in the field of art? There will be events, exhibitions, and various activities throughout the year, mainly at KODE 4, which in 2022 will serve as a “queer museum”. 

“In Norway, scant research has been done on queer art, culture, and history,” notes KODE director Petter Snare. “And it’s high time that institutions do something about this invisibility. Throughout the Year of Queer Culture, we want to inspire conversations, debates, and engagement that in turn will influence how we work and we collect and present art in the future.” 

What will happen during the Year of Queer Culture at KODE?  

KODE 4 will be the primary venue for the Year of Queer Culture, but there will also be events at other venues both at KODE and elsewhere.  

The first event is the opening of the extensive in-house exhibition The Queer Gaze on 1 April.  

The curators Mathias Skaset and Bjørn Hatterud have reviewed KODE’s collections with a new and queer gaze, highlighting works and narratives that the public has yet to see and hear. How can alternative views of art history help us understand famous works of art in new ways? What stories lie hidden in our surroundings? 

Part two of The Queer Gaze will open after the summer, with works by specially invited contemporary artists. Further details about this exhibition will be announced this spring. 

The events programme, which will be published on KODE’s website on an ongoing basis throughout the year, will feature a number of lectures, conversations, and debates about queer art and history. 

The springtime concert series at the Composer Homes will explore music made by norm-bending composers throughout history. Several of the foremost classical composers in history were also queer. Many of them lived in a constant state of emotional turmoil and in many cases kept their orientation hidden. Have these burdens affected the music they wrote? 

Bergen Ballroom 

One of the most exciting events during the Year of Queer Culture at KODE is the Bergen Ballroom project, where KODE will team up with Carte Blanche and Mother Cassandra Meraki to finally offer a venue for ballroom culture in Bergen.  

We will work with dancers and artists to help building new, permanent meeting places for queer youth and young adults in the region.There will be free workshops about vogue dancing, drag, and conversations about gender identity and expressions. Not least, in April we will hold the Bergen Mini Ball, Bergen’s very first Vogue Ball.   

A smarter approach to queer perspectives 

The art historian and museologist Mathias Skaset (pictured above) is in charge of the Year of Queer Culture project at KODE.  

“It is important to everyone here at the museum that the Year of Queer Culture will lead to something permanent, beyond 2022,” he explains. “We want this to affect KODE and how we conceive of our collections and our social mission, and make us smarter when it comes to queer perspectives. For example, at the beginning of the new year, all of KODE’s employees will attend inhouse courses we’ll be holding with the Art of Balance association, and towards the end of the year we’ll be publishing an anthology that will be a contribution to a history of Norwegian queer art. We hope the public will follow us throughout the entire year!”