KØS is Denmark’s museum dedicated to art in public spaces. The museum was originally established in 1977 and is located in the pedestrian street of Nørregade in the heart of charming Køge. Its collections are supplemented by a popular museum shop and café.
Being the country’s only museum specialising in the kind of art familiar to all – from our shared urban spaces, hospitals, castles, churches, and other public areas – gives KØS a unique feel.
Just as a museum of architecture does not collect finished buildings, KØS does not collect finished works of art – those belong in the public sphere. Instead, the museum collections comprise more than 18,000 drawings, models, and other preliminary works for these unique works of art.
One of the museum highlights is Bjørn Nørgaard’s sketches for the Queen’s tapestries at Christiansborg Castle, home of the Danish parliament. The 17 large-scale cartoons and a selection of the artist’s other studies for the tapestries are on display on the museum’s spectacular top floor, where they are accompanied by, among other things, films about the process behind the work.
A succession of special exhibitions provides unique insights into the special processes and problems associated with creating art for the public space. In addition to sketches, drawings, and models, these exhibitions often feature photographs, film footage, and correspondences that shed light on the artists’ interplay with architects, urban planners, and the people who will come into daily contact with their work. They also provide insights into the discussions – many of them heated – that arise when art enters the public space where we cannot avoid it.