“All over the place”

Geir Haraldseth, Norwegian collector and director of Rogaland Kunstsenter in Stavanger, Norway, dosen’t limit himself when it comes to collecting. In his own words, he is ‘all over the place’. Since 1996, he has built a dirty, fun, and irreverent art collection that might not turn up on other people’s radars at first glance. However, a lot of the works deal with popular culture, so they probably don’t feel like strangers to you afterall.

Geir Haraldseth
Geir Haraldseth in front of a work by Nina Bang Larsen
  • Name: Geir Haraldseth
  • Location: Stavanger, Norway
  • Started collecting in year: 1996
  • Number of artworks in collection: 300 works of art, 2000 books, and 3000 magazines
  • Name of collection: The collection of Geir Haraldseth

How did you become an art collector?
I started collecting contemporary art books in 1996 when I was working at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo. I was doing my social service (siviltjeneste), which lasted for 16 months. I got to work in the bookstore and the library, doing guided tours and so on, and through this work, I got an introduction to a lot of inspiring art books, like asianpunkboy by Terence Koh and Paul McCarthy, and that kind of started it all.

How would you describe yourself as an art collector?
All over the place.

What was the first artwork you purchased?
I don’t remember, but I do remember the first work I forked over a little bit of money for. It was a portrait of me by Ivan Galuzin, so I felt like I had to buy it. Also, I helped write a text for the artist to make up for a low price.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
Art is an interesting field, so surrounding yourself with the ideas is one thing, and surrounding yourself with the objects is another. I prefer collecting objects that might not turn up on other people’s radars, and also supporting kickstarters for art projects. Simultaneously, you get a work of art and get to support the birth of a new project.

Describe your collection in three words.
Dirty, fun, irreverent.

'I am not famous anymore' by Babak Ganjei
‘I am not famous anymore’ by Babak Ganjei.

What work of art do you wish you owned if the price tag did not matter?
Maybe I would opt for Bjarne Melgaard’s unrealized “A house to die in”. That way I would get a house in Oslo and an artwork.

How do you know when you stand before a really great piece of art?
I’m probably in a good gallery.

What is the best advice you have given or been given in terms of art collecting?
Just buy it.

Art is an interesting field, so surrounding yourself with the ideas is one thing, and surrounding yourself with the objects is another.

Do you have a desire to have your collection shown?
I showed it at Rogaland Kunstsenter as a comment on the exhibition “Intimt og Monumentalt,” a collection show at Stavanger Kunstmuseum. The museum were showing Jan Groth and Steingrim Laursen’s collection, including primitive objects, and I felt the inclusion of these primitive objects had to be questioned, so I showed my collection and included objects from popular culture such as t-shirts, bags and vinyl.


What are the wishes for the future of your collection? What would you like to see happen to it?
I would like to catalog it and insure it properly. I lost a small piece recently and even though the monetary value was low, it did sting.

Geir Haraldseth collection
Masks by assume vivid astro focus, Benjamin Alexander Huseby, jewelry by Mended Veil (Danny McDonald) and Ilja Karilampi cap.
Warhol and Fini by Debbie Ritter
Warhol and Fini by Debbie Ritter.

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