Museum of Modern Art Stockholm



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Arty Fact

Museum of Modern Art Stockholm
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The Museum of Modern Art of Stockholm, Moderna Museet, is a state museum with free admission.

The very idea of a state museum with free admission, as well as the degree to which the curators and directors of Moderna Museet engage with the philosophy of art, may seem absolutely un-UnitedStatesian, but it is possible to establish a large number of institutions of this kind in the United States. (Instead of "Americans," Spanish speakers use the term Estadounidenses, "UnitedStatesians," to distinguish the people of the United States from other Americans, like Guatemalans and Canadians, for example). It requires a deeper appreciation of the state funding of the arts, a recognition that such sponsorship benefits the consciousness and quality of life of many generations to come, and an acknowledgment that if a relatively small nation like Sweden can display the works of Atsuko Tanaka, Rene Magritte, Louise Bourgeois, and many other masters for free in its Moderna Museet, the U.S. can, too, on a larger scale.

The Smithsonian is the exceptional case, and for a state with such a greater geographic size and GDP, the U.S. could use more than one art museum open to all. Incentive-driven economists argue that the privatization of the U.S. museum economy, in which most museumgoers have to pay for tickets, actually increases the value of the art itself, just as a bottle of wine tastes better if it's expensive, and this may be true. But the financial value of art is probably less important than the overall wellbeing of people, in which art, music, and cultural expression play a clear role. This does not necessarily, however, suggest that outside of art policy, the U.S. should follow Sweden in general.

The Moderna Museet Projekt, curated by the Museum outside of its walls, including installations in its famous sculpture garden, emerged from a conversation about how the art institution might accommodate young people by finding a more relevant approach to its program.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, a younger generation of artists, disillusioned by the museum's rooms that seemed so simple but at the same time weighed down by historical, administrative, ideological and commercial baggage, created artwork that interacted with other, more social or anti-social places, and which intervened more directly than the museum has ever been able to do with direct, living, present experiences. The Moderna Museet Projekt is a response to these artistic initiatives.

In particular, the Projekt emerged from Claire Bishop's response to Nicolas Bourriaud's suggestion that the museum should shed its technocratic sensibility and embrace a politics of egalitarianism. Bishop's critique of Bourriaud, illustrated by the work of "Santiago Sierra and Thomas Hirschhorn, highlights a type of art that not only invites social equality but also produces potentially antagonistic relationships." Antagonism, in other words, is not just an externality that intellectuals and administrators ought to "manage away" or suppress, but a potentially fecund site of engagement and experimentation. With its recent history of social conflict, it is difficult for U.S. institutions to follow such a thought, but by allowing a space for conflict or dissonance, as a psychotherapist does within the transference of counseling, an institution could potentially sublimate destructive energy and turn it into something more convivial.




  1. Birnbaum, Daniel, and Isabelle Graw. Under Pressure: Pictures, Subjects, and the New Spirit of Capitalism. Berlin: Sternberg, 2008.
  2. Burch, Stuart. "Introducing Mr Moderna Museet: Pontus Hultén and Sweden's Museum of Modern Art." In Museums and Biographies: Stories, Objects, Identities, edited by Kate Hill. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2012: 29-44.
  3. Historieboken om Moderna Museet 1958-2008. Edited by Anna Tellgren. Stockholm: Steidl/Moderna Museet, 2008.
  4. Lundström, Anna. Former av politik: Tre utställningssituationer på Moderna Museet 1998–2008. Stockholm: Makadam Förlag, 2015.
  5. Moderna Museet. "Atsuko Tanaka,"
  6. Moderna Museet. "Le Modèle rouge, 1935,"$0040100/0/primaryMaker-asc?t:state:flow=ed34f382-4600-45b3-a4dd-ef168e75f7ea.
  7. Moderna Museet. "Louise Bourgeois,"
  8. Schmidt, Liane, Vasilisa Skvortsova, Claus Kullen, Bernd Weber, and Hilke Plassmann. "How context alters value: "The brain’s valuation and affective regulation system link price cues to experienced taste pleasantness." Scientific Reports 7, no. 1 (2017) D

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Moderna Museet

Moderna Museet ("the Museum of Modern Art"), Stockholm, Sweden, is a state museum for modern and contemporary art located on the island of Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm, opened in 1958. In 2009, the museum opened a new branch in Malmö in the south of Sweden, Moderna Museet Malmö.


The museum was opened in 9 May 1958. Its first manager was Pontus Hultén. In May 2010, Daniel Birnbaum became the new director of the museum. He stayed until the end of 2018; Ann-Sofi Noring was named acting director until the formal appointment of Gitte Ørskou as the new director by Amanda Lind. Ørskou began in her new functions in September 2019.

In 2009, the museum opened a new branch in the building previously known as Rooseum in Malmö.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Moderna Museet.