Category Archives: Moderna Museet

Warhol 1968–Exhibition at Moderna Museet, Malmö.

Andy Warhol‘s first international retrospective exhibition was held at Moderna Museet in Stockholm from 10th February to 17th March 1968. The idea for the exhibition came from Pontus Hultén, Moderna’s legendary director, and his friend and former student colleague Billy Klüver a friend of Andy Warhol’s convinced Warhol to participate. Warhol visited Moderna Museet in December 1967 to reconnoiter and agreed to submit works including some Brillo boxes, “Marilyns“, an “Electric Chair” painting, and a 10 foot “Flowers” both made specially for the show. Pontus Hultén sent his young assistant Kasper König to finalise the arrangements together with Warhol and Billy Klüver. The catalogue, authored by Olle Granath, Kasper König and Pontus Hultén, with its “Flowers” cover became a cult item and several editions were produced.
Warhol-1968 Catalogue

First editions came in a cardboard box with “Andy Warhol” printed on it. There was also a limited edition of 100 copies in a perspex box (apparently few of these were sold!) Olle Granath was charged with going through Warhol’s papers to select quotes for inclusion in the catalogue. When he had submitted them for approval, Hultén phoned him and told him he had missed an important quote that “In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes“. Granath replied that he hadn’t found that particular quote. but it was printed anyway. This caused a certain amount of anxiety as to what Warhol would say when he saw the quote in the catalogue–but Warhol simple shrugged and said that it was the sort of thing he might well have said. And it has since been ascribed to Warhol rather than to Pontus Hultén!

Moderna Museet decided to produce an exhibition in 2018 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the original exhibition. The new exhibition was not intended to reproduce the original show (which would have been impossible) but to emphasis the impact that Warhol’s art had in Sweden (and Europe, as the exhibition later travelled to Oslo and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam) at the time. This type of “exhibition study”, where a new show discusses a previous one, is becoming increasingly common in the museum world.

Interestingly, in 1968, the year of student revolt in Paris and elsewhere, the reaction in the Swedish press was divided with the more left wing papers mostly approving and the more conservative ones damning the show as “non art”!

I went to the opening of the Stockholm show, where  Kasper König was interviewed by Daniel Birnbaum, Moderna’s director, and Olle Granath held the opening speech. Then–as is my wont–I went through the show hoping to find some of Warhol‘s record covers and was rewarded just by the exhibition exit where eight covers were on show:
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As any nerd will note, one of these covers is not by Warhol. So I sought out John Peter Nilsson, the exhibition’s curator, and told him that the cover of the East Village Other‘s album was not by Warhol. I took the opportunity to tell him about my collection of Warhol (and other) covers. He saw to it the East Village Other cover was changed to Johnny Griffin’s “The Congregation“. He told me that Moderna had plans to show the exhibition at its sister museum in Malmö during 2019.

Some time later, John Peter made a home visit to inspect my collection of Warhol record covers and suggested that he include a selection of my Warhol cover collection in the new show in Malmö. We agreed to show all the covers with Warhol‘s art that were produced during his lifetime, but not showing every single variation, in all a total of 81 covers.

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John Peter Nilsson holding his favourite Warhol record cover–“The Nation’s Nightmare” from 1952.

In addition we decided to include some other items from my Warhol collection: the Aspen Magazine #3 from 1966, which includes the flexidisc with Peter Walker‘s “White Wind” and Velvet Underground‘s (in reality only John Cale) “Loop“,  Andy Warhol’s Index (book), Warhol‘s “The Beatles” from the cover of Geoffrey Stokes‘ 1980 book of the same name and magazine covers with portraits of Michael Jackson and Prince and the promotional book from Miguel Bosé‘s “Made in Spain” album.

The Warhol 1968 exhibition in Malmö was due to open on 30th March and run until 8th September 2019. I was invited to help oversee the final hanging of the record covers. These were framed with Wag the Wall‘s beautiful Magic Vinyl Display frames which really let the covers shine.

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One lone viewer in front of the record covers.

The exhibition was designed logically with a large room devoted to the art shown at the 1968 exhibition at Moderna museet in Stockholm with nine Marilyns borrowed from Louisiana, Moderna museets own “Electric Chair“, “Multiple silver Marilyns“, and the ten foot “Flowers“. Also in that room were Warhol‘s print of his plane ticket to Stockholm, December 1967 and a Warhol self portrait (both owned by Moderna). An adjacent room showed the history of Warhol‘s Brillo boxes along one wall, whilst another wall was devoted to Andy Warhol Enterprises and Warhol‘s commercial art including a portrait of “Scandinavian Beauty“. There were three exhibition cases in the middle of the room. One held two of Warhol‘s “Red books” of Polaroid pictures, another magazines with Warhol art covers and a bottle of Warhol‘s 1982 eau de toilette för men with dollar signs on the bottle. The third exhibition case contained more record-related stuff from my collection including Margarita Madrigal‘s book “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish“, “Andy Warhol’s Index (Book)“, “FAB“, the Aspen Magazine box from December 1966, a booklet from Miguel Bosé‘s “Made in Spain” promotional package and the “Swan Lake” and “Daphnis & Chlöe “LP covers.

My record covers, 80 in all, were lined in five rows on the final wall, with some more in an exhibition case nearby.

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Exhibition case with Andy Warhol’s Index (Book), Aspen Magazine “FAB” issue, the program from the Concert of Mexican Music plus Miguel Bosé’s promo booklet from his “Made in Spain” album.

There was a massive turn out for the opening evening on 29th March with crowds gathering in front of the record covers. One visitor had a large collection of records by the Velvet Underground and by Lou Reed and admitted to owning eleven copies of the Velvet Underground & Nico! Others stood in front of the covers pointing out which ones they actually owned. Many simply admired the early covers from the 1950s and others were simply overwhelmed by the sight of 80 covers on the wall.

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Posing in front of the wall of record covers. Photo: Helene Toresdotter.

Moderna Museet’s director Iris Müller-Westermann held a welcome introduction followed by John Peter Nilsson who introduced the exhibition and described Warhol‘s art and philosophy after which the multitude could wander round the exhibition before a happening with a Swiss dance troupe took place. Then there was mingle in the cafeteria with shrimp cocktail and wine or beer and a DJ played Warhol-related music. A really warm and friendly meeting with what Iris Müller-Westermann judged to be one of the biggest crowds ever at an exhibition opening  at Moderna museet in Malmö.

The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday March 30th and curator, John Peter Nilsson, hosted two very popular guided tours of the exhibition. There were 1136 visitors to the show on the opening day–quite a turnout as the average number of visitors to openings at Moderna museet in Malmö is about 600. Even the curator’s tours were more popular than at previous shows.

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The guided tour Saturday 30th March. John Peter Nilsson beside the 25 Black & White Marilyns facing the crowd.

 

 

Warhol 1968 at Moderna Museet, Malmö, 30th March–8th September, 2019.

Andy Warhol’s first ever retrospective exhibition opened on 15th January 1968 and ran until 17th February. This year, to mark the 50th anniversary of that groundbreaking show, Moderna Museet in Stockholm has created a new show, called “Warhol 1968” as a sort of rememberance of the earlier exhibition. This exhibition runs from 15th September 2018–17th February 2019. The exhibition will transfer to Moderna Museet’s Malmö site, opening on 30th March and running until 8th September.

The current exhibition in Stockholm includes eight record covers bearing Andy Warhol’s art. The exhibition’s curator John Peter Nilsson has decided to try to include all Warhol’s record covers produced during his lifetime in this new exhibition and has asked me if I would lend my record covers to the exhibition along with some other related pieces of Warhol art.

It will be a wonderful opportunity to show a total of seventy-seven record sleeves, LPs, EP boxes, 12″ and a few 7″ singles, some of which have never been shown in public before.

My friend, Lars Magnell, CEO of Wag the Wall has promised to lend his company’s fantastic Magic Vinyl Display frames in which to hang the covers to show them at their best .


Warhol 1968–An exhibition at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.

Andy Warhol’s first international museum retrospective took place at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet from February 10th to March 17th 1968. A new exhibition entitled “Warhol 1968” was the museum’s way to remember this groundbreaking show on the 50th anniversary of the original.

By 1968 Warhol was already famous but remarkably there had not been any retrospective exhibitions of his work at any art institution. Pontus Hultén, then Moderna museet’s director, met Kasper König at a dinner party. At the time, König worked with Claes Oldenburg in New York and knew many of the New York artists of the period. He also knew Swedish ex-pat Billy Klüver, who acted as Pontus Hultén’s New York contact with American artists. Billy and Pontus were old chums, having met as students in a Student film club. König put the idea of an exhibition to Warhol. Hultén and art critic Ole Granath wanted it to be a multimedia event with paintings, Brillo boxes, helium-filled balloons and films and it seemed that Warhol agreed. There was just one little problem–Moderna Museet had very limited funds. Importing 500 of Warhol’s Brillo boxes would be too expensive, so Andy suggested Hultén had the boxes made locally, but even that proved beyond the museum’s budget. Finally the ordered 300 real Brillo cartons from the Brillo company and these had to be assembled upon arrival! Even the idea of the silver helium-filled balloons fell by the wayside as the balloons themselves were difficult to manufacture and the helium was prohibitively expensive–so the ingenious Hultén and Granath painted plastic garbage bags silver and filled them with air. They didn’t float like the helium filled balloons, and proved to become highly static and attract enormous amounts of dust! Also Warhol’s films never materialised. Apparently there was concern that showing the films in Stockholm might tarnish their reputation.

Hultén wanted Warhol’s “Cow” wallpaper to decorate the outside of the Museum, but hanging it in the cold of the Swedish winter wasn’t easy. In the end Granath had to set up scaffolding clad with hardboard and let the Museum’s decorator hang the wallpaper.
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Kasper König was invited to Stockholm for the exhibition, but being young and unemployed he cashed in his plane ticket and stayed in New York. Andy Warhol made the journey to the exhibition as did Billy Klüver.

Billy Klüver was an engineer interested in art and helped artists make mechanical art works. In March 1963 he interviewed the eleven artists involved in the Popular Image exhibition which was to run at the Washington Gallery of Art from April to June 1963. Klüver produced an LP record of the interviews. He then suggested to Andy Warhol that they silkscreen covers for the records and together they made Warhol’s “Giant Size $1.57 Each” record covers. They made five variations, the “Giant Size” motif silkscreened in black on plain white covers as well as on covers spray painted red, green, yellow and orange. It is not known how many covers they printed. They were not used at the exhibition. Instead a catologue with cover image by Jim Dine, who was probably a bigger name than Warhol in 1963, was used on the envelope that contained both catalogue and record. It seems, however, that Billy Klüver had stored the covers in his cellar and some of the white covers (unsigned and unnumbered) were sold at the Moderna Museet retrospective in 1968.

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Andy Warhol at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, 1968.

Warhol 1968 — the 2018 exhibition
The exhibition was curated by John Peter Nilsson and ran from 15th September to 17th February 2019. This was not intended to be a Warhol retrospective but a reminder of Warhol’s first international retrospective. Various works were on show–Brillo boxes with an explanation of Pontus Hultén’s reproduction boxes made in 1990 for a series of European exhibitions. The story of these “fake” boxes can be read here. New boxes made specially for this show were on display. Original artworks included Warhol’s self portrait,
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His portrait of Russel Means

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Russell Means by Andy Warhol.

A Brillo silkscreen
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There was even some of the original 1968 “Cow” wallpaper from the Museum’s facade outside the exhibition hall.OxkPqAUfSauDrP6aZ2iOjQ

A digital copy od Chelsea girls was running in a screening room
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Obviously, I went looking for record covers! There were eight on show as one left the exhibition. These were from the collection of Susanna Rydén Dankwardt.

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Record covers. Seven by Warhol (the East Village Other cover is not by him).

Before the official opening of the exhibition, there was an introductory talk by Moderna Museet’s current director Daniel Birnbaum and Kasper König (who made it this time) telling the story of the 1968 show. Afterwards, John Petr Nilsson, the exhibition curator gave a talk about the current show and asked Ole Granath about details of the original 1968 exhibition. Ola Granath then opened the exhibition. Drinks and snacks were on sale at the preview–there was a very nice wrap with a chanterelle salad wrapped in silver foil and sealed with a “Cow” sticker.
Warhol wrap

The exhibition is on until 17th February 2019, so I suggest you go and see it.