Stockholm’s Moderna Museet received the call on Tuesday at 4pm, directly after Queen Silvia and the Finnish prime-minister’s wife Jenni Haukio had been visiting.
“The person who rang spoke English and said that there was a bomb and that it wasn’t a joke. He said the museum was a racist one,” said Lotta Guffhe of the Stockholm police to Aftonbladet newspaper.
The building was evacuated and a bomb squad was called in, complete with sniffer dogs.
By 8pm, the police confirmed that the threat was false.
The Moderna Museet has caught the public’s attention in Sweden this week after the Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth carved up a cake depicting a naked black woman.
The move by the minister, who claimed her actions were “misinterpreted”, sparked outrage amongst the National Afro-Swedish Association, resulting in spokesperson Kitimbwa Sabuni calling for the minister’s dismissal.
As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.
Liljeroth, who claimed that art is “meant to be provocative”, was sympathetic to the association’s reaction, but nevertheless defended her actions.
“I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art’s freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake,” Adelsohn Liljeroth told the TT news agency.
Police have launched an investigation into the bomb threat.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the museum emphasized that it was against “any form or racism” and that the event featuring the controversial installation was organized by the Swedish Artists’ National Organisation (KRO) to highlight “the fight against censorship and for freedom of expression”.
“Moderna Museet understands and respects that people find the pictures and video clips from World Art Day upsetting, especially when they are shown out of context. The intention of KRO and Makode Linde was to draw attention to and discuss today’s racism, not to reinforce it,” the museum said.
Adelsohn Liljeroth is scheduled to meet with representatives from the National Afro-Swedish Association on Wednesday evening to discuss the matter.