Motsättningarnas museum : Samproduktionen av museiideal i den offentliga debatten om Moderna museet 1972–2013

Sammanfattning: This dissertation examines how the art museum’s societal function has been constructed in the Swedish public debate. The dissertation shows that the cultural section of the daily press is, and has been, a forum where actors exchange opinions about art museums, and where notions on the art museums’ functions are co-produced. The specific aim of the dissertation is to examine how museum ideals have been co-produced in the public debate on Moderna Museet (the Swedish Museum of Modern Art). The term museum ideal refers to exemplary notions about the function of the art museum, and also to ideas on how the art museum should fulfil this conceptualised function. The co-production of museum ideals is analysed in four case studies, which span from 1972 to 2013. The case studies sequentially examine the debates regarding Moderna Museet’s acquisition of the artworks in the New York Collection, the debate on the museum’s new building, the debate about the museum’s sponsorship collaboration with the multinational conglomerate corporation Sony, as well as the debates regarding the project The Second Museums of Our Wishes and the exhibition Hilma af Klint – A Pioneer of Abstraction. The dissertation concludes that four reoccurring museum ideals have been co-produced throughout the debates. The first ideal emphasises the importance of equal representation and democratic inclusion. The second ideal stresses Moderna Museet’s educational purpose. The third ideal underlines that the museum should engage in innovative and experimental activities and the fourth ideal accentuates the importance of international prestige and influence. However, the implications of the four museum ideals have not been fixed nor static. Rather, they have been adjusted to match their changing contexts. It appears that there has sometimes been a discrepancy between the museum ideals and Moderna Museet’s mission statements. However, this discrepancy only underlines the museum ideals’ status as ideals. Moderna Museet may not ever fully achieve what the ideals prescribe, but they nonetheless serve as essential objectives for the museum. Furthermore, the conflicts that have provoked the debates have had a significant impact on the ideals. As an example, the format of the debates has sometimes established polemic between the museum ideals. For this reason, some of the ideals have appeared as opposites, even though their implications have been quite similar.

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