Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet

14.10 2021

Our statements on the issue regarding Lars Vilks’ Roundabout Dog

There are many opinions about what art Moderna Museet should acquire. Following the tragic death of Lars Vilks, demands have been made that Moderna Museet should acquire the work “The Prophet M. as a Roundabout Dog”. We have no plans to do this. But saying “No thank you” to this artwork is not a “No thank you” to Lars Vilks’ artistic practice.

Throughout his career, Lars Vilks has been a provocative artist who has sparked debate. In 2003, Moderna Museet acquired Vilks’ sculpture “Omphalos”. A work that was built without permission at Kullaberg in Skåne, Sweden. This art project led to a series of legal actions. The work was eventually expelled from the site and later donated to Moderna Museet, where it formed the focal point of a Vilks exhibition. 

Lars Vilks explored the mechanisms of the art scene, and his practice has the ability to pose sharp questions and has been widely acknowledged. But what defines artistic value? Is a work’s capacity to raise debate a measure of its quality? 

The work “The Prophet M. as a Roundabout Dog” has been, and will continue to be, highly relevant as a historic phenomenon relating to contemporary conflicts and debates on freedom of expression. However, the fact that it triggers debate does not automatically make it an important work of art. 

Published 14 October 2021 · Updated 3 October 2022