Photograph of the two books

Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet, book series Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Publication series: Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet

The research project “Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet – Research and Learning Based on an Art Collection, an Archive and a Library” has resulted in two anthologies presenting new essays and a rich selection of photographs and documents from the Museum’s archives.

Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet. The Formative Years

The project’s first book, “Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet. The Formative Years” (2017) with a preface by Daniel Birnbaum, focuses on the years from 1956 to the mid-1960s, presenting five new essays on the exhibitions “Inner and Outer Space” (1965–66) and “Movement in Art” (1961), the avant-garde film festival “Apropos Eggeling” (1958), Pontus Hultén’s close friendship and collaborations with the artists Sam Francis and Claes Oldenburg, and the learning activities in the Museum’s early years in connection with three exhibitions.

In addition to the five essays, the book includes a previously unpublished text by Pontus Hultén from 1962, where he outlines his ideas on how a modern art museum should be run.

The book gives insights into how Pontus Hultén, at an early point in his career, defined his role as a museum director and exhibition producer. Together, the essays in this anthology give an idea of how a modern museum on the northern periphery of Europe can evolve and establish itself on an international art scene.

Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet. From Stockholm to Paris

“Pontus Hultén and Moderna Museet. From Stockholm to Paris” (2023) is the second book produced by the project and addresses the later period of Pontus Hultén’s time at Moderna Museet, from the mid-1960s to 1973. It also looks at a few of the projects he worked on after leaving Moderna Museet, which are richly represented in Pontus Hultén’s archive.

The preface by Gitte Ørskou is followed by a longer introduction highlighting the exhibitions “Andy Warhol” (1968), “Bernd and Hilla Becher” (1970), the presentations of Joseph Beuys and Günter Uecker (1971), and “Utopias and Visions 1871–1981” (1971). The ensuing chapters discuss the exhibitions “SHE – A Cathedral “(1966) at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age”, which Pontus Hultén produced in 1968 for the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The books in Pontus Hultén’s library are analysed, and the final essay deals with the art school Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques (IHEAP) in Paris. An interview with Pontus Hultén from 1971 published in the French art magazine Opus International is also included, in which he reflects on the museum of the future.

Published 10 November 2016 · Updated 1 December 2023