Record crowds flock to Warhol in Stockholm

An Andy Warhol exhibition recently opened at Liljevachs Konsthall to record-high crowds, and the museum director is pleased as punch. Bo Nilsson is a big, big Warhol fan and the show seems to be a bit of a personal triumph for him.

The press this week focused on the Konsthall’s director, Nilsson, and his lifelong love of Mr. Warhol. Dagens Nyheter’s article on the show began with Nilsson’s 1974 encounter with a certain Velvet Underground album and his introduction to – and subsequent obsession with – Andy Warhol.

Both DN and Svenska Dagbladet retold the story of Nilsson’s brief meeting with Warhol at an opening in 1981: apparently Nilsson went to an opening in New York and peppered Warhol with questions, and was disappointed when each question was met by a reply along the lines of, “Uh..”

Warhol signed Nilsson’s shirt, but the beloved Lacoste was accidentally washed some time later.

Nilsson happily gave press tours of the show and patiently explained why you can’t buy Warhol wallpaper for your home. The show is a big one for the venue, and was produced in cooperation with Kunstpalats Düssseldorf, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, and Kunstmusem Liechtenstein – simply covering the insurance costs for some of the larger works would have been too much for a single museum like the Liljevachs Konsthall.

The exhibition costs 70 crowns to enter – a bit high for a Swedish exhibition, but Liljevachs wasn’t one of the museums recently blessed by the Ministry of Culture’s free entrance policy.

All the same, the crowds are massing for the show – more than 4,000 people made the trip last weekend, and Liljevachs expects people to keep showing up. With the museum director beaming away like that, how could anyone resist?

Andy Warhol: The late work (1972-1987) is on show at Liljevachs Konsthall until January 9, 2005.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet

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Stockholm’s giant penis mural to be covered up after complaints

A giant blue penis painted on a Stockholm apartment building is to be covered up after just one week, the company which owns the building has said.

Stockholm's giant penis mural to be covered up after complaints
The penis was painted in blue with a yellow background, perhaps reflecting Sweden's national colours. Photo: Photo: Hugo Röjgård/Graffitifrämjandet
Atrium Ljungberg said it had come to the decision after receiving a barrage of complaints about the five-story high depiction of a bulging erection.  
“Of course we care about artistic freedom, but at the same time we must respect the opinion of our closest neighbours,” Camilla Klint, the company's marketing head, said in a statement. 
“By letting it remain for a short period, we are offering anyone who's interested a chance to experience the work.” 
The company said that it had been given no prior warning that a giant penis was about to appear on one of its blocks. 
“On Wednesday morning, April 11th, we saw  Kollektivet Livet's new work for the first time, at exactly the same moment as all the other people who live on Kungsholmen did,” it said in its statement.  
Under their arrangement, the artist collective had total artistic freedom over the works it commissioned for the wall, at Kronobergsgatan 35 on the central Stockholm island of Kungsholmen.  
The decision will come as a disappointment to the artist Carolina Falkholt. Her first giant penis painting, which she plastered on a wall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in December, lasted only a few days. 
She said on Wednesday that she expected her native Swedes to be more receptive. 
Atrium Ljungberg did acknowledge that many appreciated the painting. 
“Some people are positive about the work and see it as playing an important part in the debate around sexuality, the body and gender,” the company wrote.
“Others, particularly neighbours, have received the work less well, and experience it as offensive.”