Pontus Hultén is lying on the floor and talking on the phone. In the foreground is a car covered with plastic

Pontus Hultén in the exhibition The Machine at MoMA in New York, 1968 Photo: Ad Petersen © Ad Petersen

Symposium: Utopias and Visions

On the legacy of Pontus Hultén and his time

18.11 2022


How do the visions of mythical museum-man Pontus Hultén live on in today’s art institutions? Welcome to a symposium on Pontus Hultén, his time, and his deed. Listen to former collaborators, curators, researchers, writers and artists examine Hultén’s legacy and the contexts in which he worked.

In the summer of 1971, an art exhibition was held on the old shooting range behind what had once been a Swedish Navy prison on Skeppsholmen island in Stockholm. The exhibition “Utopias and Visions 1871–1981” drew from a number of utopian scenarios, starting with the Paris Commune in 1871. In addition to an eclectic mix of materials relating to everyday life during the short duration of the commune, the exhibition also presented the architect Buckminster Fuller’s “World Game”, and discussed issues concerning the nature of future communications.

The exhibition is remembered in part for the construction of a geodesic dome, where the artist Moki Cherry and the jazz musician Don Cherry, lived throughout the summer. It was here that they performed music, created set designs and costumes, and staged happenings together with the public.

“Utopias and Visions” was one of the many initiatives and projects conceived by Pontus Hultén during his time as a curator and later as the director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm. All of these demonstrate his fundamental view of art as an integral part of the society in which it exists as well as his firm belief in the creative freedom of artists. The mission of the museum was to create a space for every form of artistic expression.

The symposium will consist of lectures and discussions. Over the course of the day, former colleagues, curators, researchers, writers and artists will examine the legacy that Pontus Hultén has left, as well as the legendary 1960s as a whole, from a multitude of viewpoints. How have Hultén’s visions been upheld by today’s art institutions? How can his curatorial achievements best be described? And what expectations do we have on the future modern art museum?

From the exhibition “Utopias and Visions 1871–1981”
Utopias and Visions 1871–1981, 1971 Photo: Erik Cornelius/Moderna Museet
Concert in the geodesic dome
Utopias and Visions 1871–1981, 1971 Photo: Erik Cornelius/Moderna Museet

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