I am so looking forward to spending the next 3 weeks in Sweden for The Untitled Drawing Club. Although I would like to physically travel to and stay in Sweden for the next 3 weeks, this will be close enough. To start, we are visiting Moderna Museet (the Museum of Modern Art), located on the island of Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm. The links for this week transport you to an artist vlog, a very colourful exhibition, and two artist studios/workshop spaces in the Museum. As always, a link to the Club and my artwork will be shared at the end of this post. Happy reading!
I am going to split this section into a brief overview of the Museum then focus on its collection.
According to their website, the Moderna Museet is one of ‘Europe’s leading museums for modern and contemporary art’. It opened in 1958 after moving from the Nationalmuseum to where it’s located today, in a former navy drill hall. As well as the site in Stockholm, a second museum was established in 2009 in the city of Malmö.
I mentioned in another post that if you are wanting to gain an overarching sense of a museum, a great place to start is with their mission statement, or statement of purpose. Not only does it tell you what to expect from the museum, but it encompasses the values of those who helped write the statement and their hopes for the future. For the Moderna Museet, their aim is to continue the Museum’s goal of working experimentally, actively seeking audience participation and creating an environment of interactivity. That is their vision in short.
In order to really engage audiences and help them participate, the Moderna Museet takes ‘risks in the name of art’. I think what this means is up for interpretation. I read it as the Museum fulfilling its goal of being experimental and, at times, pushing the boundaries. This is achieved not only through contemporary art, but also historical artworks too. For this reason I automatically started comparing this museum to the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania.
When expanding on their vision, I really like how they are aware of not only attracting new audiences but catering to repeat visitors. For those who wish to return again and again to the Museum, they want to offer something new. Whether that be through acquiring new artworks to the collection or welcoming a temporary exhibition that is unlike anything they’ve had before. It’s great to see this direct effort to balance the old with the new when it comes to visitation.
The Moderna Museet collects artworks from the early 20th century and photography from 1840 onward. After watching the artist vlog by Club founder, Alexis Winter, I wanted to learn more about the collection. I was amazed to learn that the Museum cares for over 130 000 artworks and 100 000 photographs! Roughly speaking, the three main collection focus areas include Swedish and Nordic art, French-oriented modernism and American art from the 1950s and 1960s. I would love to visit and see artworks from the latter category. More recently, this focus has been expanded to ensure that women artists (yay) are represented.
Artworks in the collection include paintings, sculptures, installations, films, videos, drawings and prints. If you click the link here, you can watch a behind the scenes video with conservator, My Bundgaard, that shows just a small fraction of the collection. My favourite work in that video is the ‘Mud Muse’ by Robert Rauschenberg. It looks like something that shouldn’t be inside any museum but out in the open air.
You can search the very extensive collection online here. If you’re not looking for something in particular, it’s nice to just scroll through a selection on the home page to see the diversity of artworks. One most definitely inspired my artwork that I will be sharing later. You can most definitely tell that the Museum is dedicated to not only growing the three categories I mentioned earlier, but constantly seeking new and innovative works.
I want to make special mention of the forum for provenance and restitution. Along with other museums of art including the Nationalmuseum and Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Moderna Museet sits on a panel to discuss anything related to provenance and restitution. They state that these subjects can be difficult to grapple with on your own, but by gathering together to discuss and provide guidance, it can make these topics more approachable. If that isn’t a template for what others can be doing in the industry then I don’t know what is.
Links for the Club
Similar to last week, we have four links to explore.
It is great to have another artist vlog by Alexis Winter. I really enjoyed seeing some of the artworks on display from when Winter visited. Each artwork that features in the video has its title and artist included. At one stage there is a floppy disc and I felt this huge wave of nostalgia come over me. The vlog also provides an overview of the Museum space and a sense of how the artworks are curated.
The second link is to an exhibition of brightly coloured cellophane(?) panels hanging from the ceiling. I question mark cellophane because I’m not 100% sure but it certainly looks like it. What is really cool about this exhibition is how it plays with the idea of colour. Depending on where you look, you might just see one colour or see through to another panel that completely transforms the colour.
Links 3 & 4
The final two links are to what I believe are workshop spaces within the Museum. Both are bright open spaces where I can imagine some wonderful art is taught and created. It is great to see these spaces as, unless you are attending a workshop, they are often overlooked.
I combined two elements of this week’s visit in order to create my artwork. I don’t know why, but the stools in one of the workshop spaces looked fun to draw. I then added a cross-stitch of a goat roaming around the workshop. If you’re wondering why I chose a goat, when I first visited the Museum’s webpage there was this striking image of a goat covered in paint. I thought why not place the goat in the workshop to explain why it has paint on its face.
If you want to join the Club or discover more information click here. Until next week, happy exploring!