Research / Projects

Living Archives: Pontus Hultén at Moderna Museet Stockholm and Centre Pompidou in Paris, 1957-81

The aim of this investigation is to reconstruct and analyse the work of the Swedish curator and museum director Pontus Hultén (1924-2006) as it comes down not only in images, words and published books; but in practices. The temporal frame is the period between 1957 and 1981. Hultén was employed at Moderna Museet as a curator in 1957 and became its director in 1960. In 1973, he began work on a new cultural house in central Paris: Centre Pompidou. He led the institution until 1981. Pompidou became the world’s second most visited museum (Louvre being on the top of the list), with Hultén as one of the most important agents on the European art scene.

Hultén’s institutional policy was recognised internationally. His practices erased borders between visual arts, music, literature, science, and life. The organisation of the Moderna Museet and Centre Pompidou also reflected his particular, critically historical, collection policies. His support for e.g. Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Tinguely, and Salvador Dalí, contributed to a new canon of modernist art. Under his directorship, he organised expansive exhibitions that engaged all but the totality of the departments at the museums. Hultén’s interest and ability for attract large audiences, with a vision of a democratisation of the art, is of great interest in present times where the art world seems to fall apart in smaller circles.

In order to analyse Hultén’s work beyond publications and exhibition documentation, even beyond analysis of the visual-verbal material in exhibition catalogues, we will secure interview material and analyse remaining documentation with the purpose to reconstruct individual, institutional, poetic and technical practices around exhibition-making: the curatorial work. Thus, an important aim in this project is to develop theory and methods for analysis of non-verbal knowledge. This is a prerequisite to understand how Hultén contributed to the formation of a new role for curatorial work in relation to history and museal collections.

Publications

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2018.

Den 9 maj 1958 invigdes Moderna Museet i marinens gamla Exercishall på Skeppsholmen i Stockholm. Museet var inte en självständig institution utan Nationalmuseums avdelning för modern konst med Bo Wennberg som chef. Året därpå tog Pontus Hultén över.Under Hulténs ledning blev Moderna ett av Europas viktigaste museer för modern konst. Men det var också något av stockholmarnas kulturhus, bland annat inspirerat av Stedelijk Museum i Amsterdam, med plats för film, musik, teater, happenings och modevisningar.Efter de första årens framgångar möttes Hultén av ett kulturpolitiskt motstånd mot slutet av 1960-talet. Hultén kritiserades för ointresse för den svenska konsten, för bristande politiskt engagemang och för att gå den amerikanska imperialismens ärenden.Den 26 april 2017 anordnade Samtidshistoriska institutet tillsammans med forskningsprojektet Levande arkiv: Pontus  Hultén på Moderna Museet (1957-73), fiansierat av Vetenskapsrådet och placerat vid ämnet Konstvetenskap, Södertörns högskola, ett vittnesseminarium om Pontus Hulténs tid på Moderna Museet.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Andreas GedinCharlotte BydlerJohanna Ringarp

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2018

School/Centre

Samtidshistoriska institutetSchool of Culture and EducationSchool of Historical and Contemporary Studies
Art History

Research area for doctoral studies

-

Status

Started

Project Manager

Charlotte Bydler
Senior Lecturer, PhD
School of Culture and Education

People linked to the project

Andreas Gedin, FD, konstnär, forskare och curator

Sinziana Ravini, FD, skribent, forskare och curator

More information

Project start: 2012
Project end: 2016

Financier: Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: No

Information på svenska

Subjects to which the project is linked

School/centre to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked