Pontus Hultén donates 700 works to Moderna Museet

Pontus Hultén, one of the giants of the world's modern art scene, has announced that he is donate almost his entire personal collection of works to Stockholm's Moderna Museet.

He is to give around 700 works to the museum, on condition that any works not shown in the main exhibition be made available to the public in a user-friendly warehouse.

This solution, described as “Hulténesque” by the museum in a press release, will give the viewer the freedom to browse among the masterpieces in a kind of art library. It has been accepted by the museum and the Swedish government.

The architect for this exhibition warehouse will be Pontus Hultén’s friend and former business partner Renzo Piano, known for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Hultén was made director of the Moderna Museet in 1960, just a couple of years after it was founded. His appointment marked the beginning of a highly successful era in which many of the world’s great modern works were displayed – and some acquired.

The Museum’s current Director, Lars Nittve, speaking at a press conference in Paris, said that he and his staff were “extremely pleased” with the donation.

“To me, Pontus Hultén’s importance in the history of the Museum is absolutely pivotal,” said Nittve.

“The parts of the collection that came to the Museum during Hultén’s directorship are some of its central features today. Pontus Hultén’s donation entails another upgrade of the Museum’s collection, consolidating its position as one of the most prominent collections in the world.”

When the collection arrives in Stockholm it will be inspected and then a number of key works will be shown in the permanent exhibition. The public warehouse is expected to be finished by 2008.


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.”