In the Shadow of
For three years (2008-2010) Moderna Museet pursued a research project called In the Shadow of. Women Modernists from a Gender-Oriented Art History Perspective in Connection with Moderna Museet’s Project The Second Museum of Our Wishes, with support from the Swedish Arts Council’s R&D funding for national museums. The purpose of the project was to research new acquisitions of works by women artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Tanning, and Tora Vega Holmström, for the Moderna Museet collection. Through this project, we developed a method by which we worked both internally with our staff, and externally with academia, other museums and the public. The project included a seminar series, Highlighting, and articles about the works and artists published on the Museum’s website (see below). The research project was pursued in close association with the ongoing exhibitions on Lee Lozano (2010), Mary Kelly (2010) and Siri Derkert (2011). In the Shadow of was covered in an article in the report Forskning vid museer, ed. Fredrik Svanberg (The Museum of National Antiquities, Stockholm Studies 19, Stockholm 2011, pp).
Highlighting was a series of public seminars highlighting artists whose works had been acquired in connection with the Second Museum of Our Wishes initiative. Highlighting focused on Dorothea Tanning, Lee Lozano, Carolee Schneemann and Mary Kelly. One seminar was also held on The Second Museum of Our Wishes.
Bodies and Space: On Dorothea Tanning’s Sculptures
Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, Häfte 3, 2009
Strangers to Each Other? A Study in Looking at the Work of Tora Vega Holmström
Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, Häfte 3, 2012
Pillar - A Gateway Figure? On a work by Louise Bourgeois and her Relationship with Art History
emaj Electronic Melbourne Art Journal, nr 5, 2010
The Metamorphosis of Dorothea Tanning: On the Painting Insomnias. Between Facets and Details
Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, Häfte 1, 2010
A One-Work Artist? Carolee Schneemann and the Reception of Her Work
Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, Häfte 3, 2011
The Second Museum of Our Wishes
The Second Museum of Our Wishes was a project aimed at acquiring works by women artists for the older part of the Museum’s collection. The title, The Second Museum of Our Wishes, paraphrased The Museum of Our Wishes (1963-64), an exhibition initiated by the Friends of Moderna Museet in the beginning of the 1960th. The Museum of Our Wishes was a call for the government to allocate funds for purchasing new works. The exhibition featured works from the collection alongside a “wish list” of works that were still available on the market. The request was acknowledged and the Museum received a one-off allocation of five million kronor, a substantial amount in today’s currency, which enabled the purchase of several works that now constitute the core of the collection. But the exhibition also laid the foundation for the collection’s gender imbalance; out of the 176 works that were shown, only three were by women artists, and all 36 works that were purchased for the collection were by male artists.
The Second Museum of Our Wishes, which focused exclusively on women artists, was aimed at highlighting this problem. In 2006, the Museum made a public request for another one-off allocation, this time for 50 million kronor, to celebrate the Museum’s 50th anniversary in 2008. This resulted in five million kronor from the government, and a further 37 million from private donations. Altogether, the Museum received some 42 million kronor earmarked for works by women artists. At the conclusion of the project, the Museum had bought 26 works by 14 artists: Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Susan Hiller, Tora Vega Holmström, Anna Kagan, Mary Kelly, Hilma af Klint, Barbara Kruger, Lee Lozano, Alice Neel, Lyubov Popova, Carolee Schneeman, Monica Sjöö and Dorothea Tanning.
A Background to The Second Museum of Our Wishes