Painting is central to the National Museum’s collections. It was the dominant medium in the museum’s exhibitions during the first half of the 20th century.

As postmodernism gained ground in the latter half of the century, painting became steadily more marginalised. In contemporary art discourse it was sometimes claimed that it had become an obsolete medium. Since the turn of the millennium, however, interest in this much maligned art form began to revive, and various indicators suggest that contemporary artists are once again embracing painting on its own terms. For the first time in fifteen years, the Museum of Contemporary Art devotes an exhibition to new contemporary painting, with an exhibition that explores a range of expressive styles that is broader now than ever before.

The new interest is global. "An appetite for Painting" joins the ranks of several recent exhibitions of contemporary painting, like "Painting Forever!" in Berlin, "Why Painting Now?" in Vienna and "Painting Now!" at Tate Britain in London.

Prior to the exhibition, the Museum of Contemporary Art held two major international conferences to highlight and examine contemporary painting. The first, "Paradox: Painting" was organized in collaboration with LNM (National Association Norwegian Painters) in September 2012, and the other "Painting Forever" followed in September 2013. Below is a short version of the latter of the two conferences.