Louisiana was founded in 1958 by Knud W. Jensen, who wanted to create a museum where Danes could see modern art, which until then had no special place in the Danish museums. It is no great exaggeration to say that over the next few decades Knud W. Jensen’s intensive exhibition activities helped teach the Danes to look at art.
Art for the many
Knud W. Jensen realized many of the visionary ideas of the time about running a modern museum, including the wish to bring art to the general public. It has always been the view at Louisiana that art is not just for an elite; it has experiences and visions to offer the many. From the start it was Knud W. Jensen’s vision to create a museum with a soul, where art could meet the public halfway – not as something high-flown but as something that speaks directly to the viewer.
The ‘sauna principle’
Louisiana has become well known and recognized for what Knud W. Jensen called the sauna principle. He divided the exhibitions into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ – the hot ones featured the artists that people knew and could recognize, the cold ones those they had never heard of, the ‘difficult’, often contemporary artists. The trick was to link the two so that people would be attracted to Humlebæk by the popular exhibitions, but at the same time would get to see something else that they would not have come to see for its own sake. The sauna principle involves meeting the visitors ‘at eye level’, the point being that to contact people and evoke a response you have to ‘buttonhole’ them wherever they already happen to be.
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