To mark the birthday of brewer Carl Jacobsen, the founder of the New Carlsberg Foundation, on 2 March, the foundation annually hands out Danish art awards at a reception in the Assembly Hall at the Glyptotek.

With the art awards, the foundation celebrates individuals who make a special contribution to the Danish art and museum world. An award momentarily translates many years of hard and persistent effort into an event, here and now.

The event and the celebration are important for the award recipient. But it is also important for the art world as such, which demonstrates its vitality and strength by being able and willing to celebrate one of its own. Appreciating and highlighting individual achievements and getting together to celebrate these achievements is beneficial to us all, and the awards are therefore a natural part of the foundation’s activities.

This year’s award recipients are:


The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant of DKK 100,000:
Morten Stræde

The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant of DKK 100,000:
Trine Søndergaard

Carl Jacobsen’s Museum Professional Grant of DKK 150,000:
Gitte Ørskou, Kunsten - Museum of Modern Art Aalborg

The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Honorary Grant of DKK 250,000:
Helle Behrndt, Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand


Morten Stræde’s thoughts are interesting and inspiring, wise and precise. But above all else, he is an artist. Stræde’s works are extremely and marvellously complex, and like all great art, his works have a mind of their own. They are also anything but conceptual; rather, they are sensuous, appealing to our senses and possessing a unique slow feel or a sense of hesitation. In his work, Morten Stræde never panders to taste, good or bad. To the benefit of us all, his unique works are slowly but surely spreading throughout the public realm across Denmark. For this achievement Morten Stræde is awarded the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant of DKK 100,000.

Trine Søndergaard creates works of art that prioritize reflection and give it a visual language. With her photos of traditional regional costumes and black mourning crepe, she highlights the fact that generations before us have shared the same experiences we have today, including grief. Death is another recurring theme, as it must be for an artist like Trine Søndergaard, who undertakes a focused exploration of the core of photography and the freezing of time, and thus life, that defines this medium. Trine Søndergaard is awarded the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant for her work, which is on an international level and helps develop photography as an art form.

In her work as a curator/chief curator, Gitte Ørskou was a driving force in the development of ARoS Aarhus Art Museum from a relatively small museum with a regional reach to major player on the Danish art scene. In 2009, she took over as director of Kunsten in Aalborg and immediately initiated a profound transformation of this art museum, from top to bottom, inside and out. Since then, Gitte Ørskou has revitalized the museum in almost every regard. Primarily through a series of remarkable and well-curated exhibitions but also through the major renovation of the building in 2014–2016, which in itself appears hugely successful – in architectural terms, in its ability to connect with the audience and, not least, as an artistic space. In recognition of this major achievement, Gitte Ørskou is awarded Carl Jacobsen’s Museum Professional Grant of DKK 150,000.

Helle Behrendt has always had a keen eye for trends and developments in contemporary art and among young artists. The exhibitions Helle Behrndt is responsible for have a high degree of professionalism in their finish, presentation and communication. The topics are surprising, and her close connection with the artists brings a breath of fresh air to everything she touches. She has demonstrated this ability at Tranegården (now Tranen Contemporary Art Center), where she was behind the ground-breaking exhibition ‘Kniven på hovedet’ (The Knife on the Head) in 1982, then at Sophienholm and, since 1990, at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, which under Helle Behrndt’s leadership has undergone several successful modernizations and expansions. In recognition of her outstanding and visionary artistic achievements, her professional and visual approach to running art institutions and her insistence on staging exhibitions with social and contemporary relevance, Helle Behrndt is awarded the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Honorary Grant.


Award recipients from previous years:

The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant 

Carl Jacobsen’s Museum Professional Grant

The New Carlsberg Foundation's Honorary Grant