He graduated from the University of Bergen with the candidate.mag.
Degree in 1968, and took the mag.art. degree (Doctor of Philosophy equivalent) in 1971. He was a research assistant at the University of Bergen from 1972 to 1973 and NAVF fellow from 1973 to 1976. He was a research fellow at the University of Bergen from 1976 to 1978, docent from 1979 to 1984 and professor from 1984 to his retirement.
From 1985 to 1986 he was a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge.
He was a board member of the National Gallery of Norway from 1983 to 1987, the Norwegian Museum of Contemporary Art from 1994 and of the Arts Council Norway from 1992 to 1996.