The Second Museum of our Wishes
Moderna Museet director Lars Nittve sums up the campaign for improved gender balance in the collection, and writes about the concluding generous donations:
Space-Force Construction (1921) by Lioubov Popova, Mr Greene (1938) and Don Perlis and Jonathan (1982) by Alice Neel, and I am Your Immaculate Conception (1982) by Barbara Kruger – four outstanding new additions to the collection mark the end of one of Moderna Museet’s most successful initiatives over the years – the campaign for the Second Museum of our Wishes.
“Instead of 100 per cent men, 100 per cent women” was the motto in a debate article I wrote three years ago, when I appealed for the aid of the government and “all the friends, donors and sponsors of Moderna Museet” so that even Moderna Museet’s collection of older art in future can reflect an art history that includes the great women artists of the 20th century. The response was magnificent and is now crowned by two exceedingly generous gifts from Karin and Krister Olsson and Birgit Rausing.
Karin and Krister Olsson have generously supplied the funding for the purchase of Lioubov Popova’s Space-Force Construction, one of the artist’s key works from the pivotal year 1921. Together with the seminal works by Kazimir Malevich, Alexandra Exeter, Alexandr Rodchenko, Ivan Kljun, Vladimir Tatlin and Anna-Chaya Kagan (the latter also acquired with funds from the Second Museum of our Wishes) this work helps to deepen and broaden the collection of art from the revolutionary years and give it an internationally high standard.
Birgit Rausing’s donation that contributed towards making Moderna Museet the first museum in Europe to have a work by the American painter Alice Neel in its collection, also brought the process for the Second Museum of our Wishes full circle. Birgit Rausing was the first to join the campaign for a better gender balance in the collection by giving Tora Vega Holmström’s painting Strangers (1913) to the museum – a painting that has been more or less on constant display since then.
The acquisition of Don Perlis and Jonathan by Alice Neel in turn prompted the artist’s heirs to donate Neel’s earlier painting Mr Green to Moderna Museet.
With these two donations – and the four most recent additions to the collection – in three years, we are delighted with the result of the Second Museum of our Wishes: Moderna Museet has received some SEK 37 million from private individuals and a one-off government allocation of a further SEK 5 million, bringing the total to SEK 42 million!
The collection has been enhanced with a total of 24 works by 13 artists (and a deposition agreement with the Hilma af Klint Foundation). The majority of these works have been exhibited in the permanent exhibition since they were acquired and have thus not only markedly changed the statistic gender balance in the collection that meets our visitors, but also the art histories that the museum conveys.
The campaign for the Second Museum of our Wishes has yielded a phenomenal result – but this does not mean that our efforts to create a collection that relates 20th and 21st century art history with a better gender balance is over. On the contrary, it will continue to be a natural part of our day-to-day activities.
Artists now represented in the collection thanks to the Second Museum of our Wishes:
Tora Vega Holmström
Anna-Chaja Abelevna Kagan
Hilma af Klint (through a deposit agreement)