THE OPEN MUSEUM: quality, dialogue, experiments
Moderna Museet is one of the world’s leading museums for modern and contemporary art, with a collection of the highest international standard. Our vision is to pursue our activities in the open and experimental spirit that has characterised the Museum since its inception in 1958. The participation of the art and artists has always been paramount, along with our dialogue with the public. Only by promoting an active interface between them can we continue to develop the relevance of our activities and our collection for the future.
We want Moderna Museet to be:
- An open museum, working in a spirit of experimentation
- A forum that promotes the dialogue between the past and the present
- An organisation where art is a source of knowledge about the world and ourselves
An open museum
Moderna Museet is an open museum that takes risks in the name of art. This is what has made our museum legendary throughout the world, and we want to extend this image of the museum as an organisation where all forms of art can meet, and where the contemporary encounters the best from history.
The presence of art and artists is a cornerstone for a living museum, and our task is to provide the best possible conditions for the encounter with the public. Art does not gain its true importance until it meets with an audience that knows that art concerns them personally, making the museum a place characterised by pleasure, curiosity and commitment. In a living museum, new encounters are constantly arising between art and its audience – children, teenagers and adults, where everyone is just as important.
A dialogue between the past and present
Moderna Museet is the obvious meeting place for people who wish to see modern and contemporary art in Sweden. Here, they will find internationally famous masterpieces that attract many visitors to return again and again. But it is just as important that new impulses can reach an audience that is curious about contemporary developments in the field of art. What makes Moderna Museet unique is our efforts to create a dialogue between history and contemporary culture. The Museum collects, preserves, researches, analyses and communicates. Our collection is not static; it is a dynamic and growing resource that can be presented from perpetually new angles, giving alternative perspectives on art, life and society. Diversity, balance with regard to gender and ethnicity, and artistic regeneration are fundamental to our operations in every sense. Moderna Museet seeks to be radical and ready to reconsider history and open up for the contemporary.
Moderna Museet today is present in two cities, Stockholm and Malmö, which means that the collection is regularly re-hung and rotated. Thus, the concept of a permanent exhibition of the collection is no longer relevant, since mobility is built into the Museum’s way of presenting both temporary exhibitions and works from the collection. The Museum’s presence in two locations is an exciting challenge and gives us entirely new potential to meet an even more differentiated public throughout Sweden.
If the dialogue between past and present is to be kept alive, it is vital for us to involve our public. Our approach, which is adapted to the group we are addressing, and the high quality of our operation, are crucial in every facet: from our website and posters, audioguides and folders, to how the artists and their works are presented and the way in which we handle and display the works of art. We have something important to convey, and we want everyone to feel that it is essential to be involved in our organisation.
Art as a source of knowledge
Visual art is never an isolated phenomenon; it is always part of a larger context. Moderna Museet should be a forum for confrontation and dialogue, blazing the trail for new perspectives and roads to knowledge that are the most relevant today. We are engaged in slow, long-term work at the Museum, focusing on the collection, major exhibitions, research, publications and educational programmes. In addition, the Museum has more fast-moving zones that can react quickly to new agendas and impulses. These various velocities complement each other and are equally important to the vitality of an institution with a complex assignment such as that of Moderna Museet.
The open museum is both a collection of key works and a mobile arena for activities that engage the public through events and programmes that have become famous for their playful and experimental spirit. In talks, readings, lectures, concerts and film screenings, the public encounters not only works of art but also the artists themselves. Ultimately, we are concerned with art as an experience for people of all ages, and art as a source of knowledge about the world and about ourselves.
Moderna Museet’s desire for collaboration and discussions about art and everything relating to art should imbue every aspect of our operation and include everyone working here. Our dual directorship highlights the importance of dialogue at every level of the organisation, and contributes to a less hierarchical approach to leadership. Our task is to make the encounter between art and the public as rich and rewarding as possible, both for the already initiated and art-loving audience, and for those who are visiting the Museum for the first time and do not know what awaits them.
Daniel Birnbaum & Ann-Sofi Noring