Government artwork destined for storage

An increasing amount of the art bought for Sweden's public buildings and offices is ending up in storage, according to a study by the Swedish Agency for Public Management.

Currently, over 2,800 works of art which have been bought with taxpayers’ money are packed away. That is an increase of 30% since 1999.

It is the responsibility of the National Public Art Council both to acquire and commission paintings and sculptures for display in government premises.

Every year the organisation spends around 12 million kronor on art, yet the public management agency says that the demand for such works is falling since there are not as many suitable environments to display the art as there have been in the past.

But it is also a question of taste.

“Those who would have the art perhaps have a little more traditional view of art, while maybe it is important for the art-buyers to generate a debate about art,” said Petter Persson, departmental director at the Agency for Public Management, to Swedish Radio.

The National Public Art Council’s explanation for the growth in stored paintings was that there are simply fewer government walls to hang them on, as departments are shut down, moved to different parts of Sweden, or combined.

But the council’s information director, Susanne Eriksson, acknowledged that the people who had to look at the artwork every day were sometimes less enthusiastic about it than the purchasers.

“Art isn’t neutral,” she told Swedish Radio.

“Art has its own expression and everyone has a viewpoint of that expression.”

Sources: SR


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.”