27 May, 2010

Maybe they need priorities

I have mentioned that I am doing an internship in the fall at Moderna Museet here in Stockholm, and I have probably posted dozens of pictures on this blog from the museum...they are one of the biggest and most well-regarded in Scandinavia, with a large fantastic collection, interesting special exhibitions and events (for example, Ed Ruscha is doing an artist tomorrow at 4pm!) They also have a very colorful history that is well-known, from the eccentric days of director Pontus Hulten to having to close & remodel because of mold. I am super-psyched for this opportunity.

So I was surprised when I read that Moderna has failed a basic audit and has been accused of inadequate control of its collections. In part for LOSING AN ANDY WARHOL.

This Warhol seems to be a small lithograph from a book. But it is not the first time I have heard they misplaced a Warhol...we get to meet all sorts of interesting art people as a part of my program, and one particularly mad curator told us the story of the Andy Warhol retrospective exhibition at Moderna in the 1970s in which the artist brought a very, very large purple flower painting to Stockholm for the show (looks something like below...Moderna doesn't let you take their images from their site!) Apparently it was so big, Warhol didn't want to take it back to NYC so he gave the work to one of his Swedish acquaintances, who didn't have the wall space for Ten-Foot Flowers so he gave it to Moderna, but it was too big for the museum as well, and who knows how it got there, but it was found 20 years later in runway storage at an airport in Ohio. They got a call from some confused airport official saying "Uhhh, we got your big purple painting here," only identified because it said "Moderna Museum Stockholm" on the box. It now hangs proudly in the museum's permanent collection.

Anyway, slightly more disconcerting is the fact that this audit was failed because of the department in which I plan to be interning! Keeping track of art and collection objects in almost any museum is the job of the registrar's office...they organize loans in and out, they record any movement of any work inside the museum, they know what is in storage, what is under conservation, what can be used for websites and advertising, etc. Looks like I'll be learning by doing?

I have a meeting with the registrars at Moderna tomorrow afternoon, and I guess I'll have to ask about the report? I'd love to hear what happened! Or maybe its simply that Andy Warhol paintings in that collection just go missing?

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