Pontus Hultén dies at 82  
I have heard a lot about Hultén, the one who made Moderna Museet the place we all would like it to be (it is not, not really) - or?
It is always strange when heroes and known people dies, so also with Pontus Hultén, who died not many days ago. He will be remembered as long as the term Contemporary Art means something, and as long as someone tries to define what these so-called curators did during the last part of the 20-century.

From the press text of Moderna:

Pontus Hultén, in effect, founded Moderna Museet, when he became its director in 1960 . Very soon, he startled the Swedish public with a succession of innovative exhibitions, such as Movement in Art, incorporating sculptures by Jean Tinguely and PO Ultvedt; and 4 Americans (1962), featuring American pop art by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns and others, almost before they were acknowledged in the USA. A string of historic exhibitions followed: Jackson Pollock (1963) and the Dream Museum, where Pontus Hultén persuaded the government to contribute five million Swedish kronor towards buying new works for the collection. Today, these works are the backbone of the museum collection and cannot be valued in money. Pontus Hultén is regarded as one of the world’s most distinguished museum professionals of our time. He devoted his life to art and eventually donated the collection he built up over many years to Moderna Museet.



Moderna Museet won international fame in 1966 with the exhibition SHE – A Cathedral, which consisted of a gigantic sculpture of a reclining woman whose womb was an entrance for visitors who could experience various things inside. The artists behind the work were Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, P O Ultvedt as well as Pontus Hultén himself. When Andy Warhol was shown at Moderna Museet in 1968, this was his first retrospective ever.



In 1974, Pontus Hultén was invited to participate in creating a new cultural centre in the heart of Paris: Centre Pompidou. He directed the institution with great aplomb until 1981, when he went on to start other institutions, including Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, MoCA , Los Angeles, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Kunsthalle Bonn and Museum Jean Tinguely, Basel.



Lars Nittve, director of Moderna Museet:
“Pontus Hultén is a seminal figure in the history of the museum, with his ability to take advantage of unique opportunities and always being ahead of his time. The works that were added to the collection during his directorship are the mainstay of Moderna Museet. It is no exaggeration to say that no other individual has meant more to Moderna Museet.”

One year ago, Pontus Hultén decided to donate some 700 works, or practically his entire private collection, to Moderna Museet. One of his requests was that the donated works, which were gratefully accepted by the government and Moderna Museet, should not be hung as part of the collection, but should be accessible to the public in a user-friendly storehouse – a typically Hulténesque solution that would give the public the freedom to “browse” among the masterpieces as in an art library. The architect who will create this viewing storehouse is Pontus Hultén’s friend and former colleague Renzo Piano (from Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas).

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Forgot: Unitednationsplaza 
M6 was cancelled. Nobody can deny that, but the ideas used in the making of are in circulation still. One of the largest onces are founder of e-flux : Anton Vidokle (hear radio-interview here (as a part of a project form the curator-students in Amsterdam last year)).

His project in Berlin explains itself as an exhibition as school: unitednationsplaza.

It sounds ok, but to be honest; same persons as through the whole 90*ies, just new context. Might be good, could also be a bit boring.

Because I really like the idea of the curatorial team, and I really like some of the projects that Vidokle has produced or organized as a part of e-flux. I wish him the best of luck this weekend and I hope that unitednationsplaza turns out good.



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Thinking Worlds 
Now, this I can like, a biennale that makes a canon of philosophy before the actuall exhibition with half a year! would love to be there, will check out what tickets costs.





"Thinking Worlds" - An International Symposium on
Philosophy, Politics, and Aesthetic Theory


Dates: November, 17th -18th, 2006
Place: Moscow, Polytechnic Museum

Co-organizer: The Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, The Moscow Biennale Art Foundation, Russian Institute for Culturology.

Speakers: Giorgio Agamben, Boris Kagarlitsky, Chantale Mouffe, Molly Nesbit, Jacques Ranciere, Mikhail Ryklin, Saskia Sassen, Bernard Stiegler.

The symposium "Thinking Worlds" starts off from the general idea of a biennial as a meeting place between different worlds, geographical, cultural, and professional, and extends this to fundamental questions bearing on the state of philosophy, aesthetic theory, and politics. The different "worlds" or spheres of philosophical reflection, that we find for instance in Kant`s division between the theoretical, the practical, and the aesthetic, have for a long time provided the philosophical reflection of modernity with its substructure. A fundamental questioning of the present must ask to what extent these three fields still exist as separate domains, what kinds of intersections exist between them, and if one of them can be seen as the foundation of the other or if we have to accept a plurality of parallel discourses. Thinking "worlds" would then imply a reflection on the unity and difference of these three domains, and especially so if seen in the light of contemporary politics. The question of whether there is one world that could serve as a promise for thought, or if it is an irrevocable condition that "Thinking Worlds" exists today only in the plural, is more pressing than ever.

Taking its cue from this historical framework, the symposium is divided into three subsections.

Philosophy and the construction of concept.
What is the role of philosophy in relation to the sciences and the arts? Should philosophy create new concepts, and if so, how should it relate to its tradition(s)? Does philosophy have an autonomy of its own, or does it relate only to the other spheres (science, politics, art) as a form of "reflection", i.e., occupying a second order position?

Universality, reason, contingency.
What happens to identity, citizenship etc, in a global world, and what challenges do these changes pose for how we conceive political theory?
- What are the possibilities under which the arts can engage or challenge our present condition?

The limits of aesthetics.
- How should we conceptualize contemporary art today and what tools
should be used to analyze it?
- What is the meaning of a term such as 2aesthetic theory" today (a concept that Adorno already judged to be outmoded at the end of his life), and is there place for the activity of critical judgment in a world that has been characterized as a "society
of the spectacle"?

The conference is organized by Joseph Backstein, Daniel Birnbaum, and Sven-Olov
Wallenstein, and will be moderated by Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Preliminary program of the Moscow Conference "Thinking worlds"
8 participants / 3 panels

1) Philosophy and the creation of concepts: Bernard Stiegler, Giorgio Agamben.
2) Universality, reason, contingency: Jacques Ranciere, Saskia Sassen and Chantal Mouffe
3)The limits of aesthetics: Molly Nesbit, Boris Kagarlitsky and Mikhail Rykhin

November 17
First day: two panels - 5 participants
10.00 -- 10.20 Opening of the conference
10.20 -- 11.00 first talk of the first panel (Bernard Stiegler)
11.00 -- 11.40 second talk of the first panel (Giorgio Agamben)
11.40 -- 12.00
Coffee break
12.00 -- 12.30 open discussion of the first panel
12.30 -- 13.10 first talk of the second panel (Jacques Ranciere)
13.10 -- 14.40
Lunch
14.40 -- 15.20
second talk of the second panel (Saskia Sassen)
15.20 -- 16.00 third talk of the second panel (Chantal Mouffe)
16.00 -- 16.30 Coffee break
16.30 -- 17.00 open discussion of the second panel

November 18
Second day: third panel – 3 participants + final discussion
11.30 -- 12.20 first talk of the third panel (Molly Nesbit)
12.20 -- 13.00
second talk of the third panel (Boris Kagarlitsky)
13.00 -- 13.20 Coffee break
13.20 -- 14.00 third talk of the third panel (Mikhail Rykhin)
14.00 -- 14.30 open discussion of the third panel
14.30 -- 15.00 Lunch
15.00 -- 17.00 final discussion

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how about a review? 
I have many times claimed that Tommy Olsson is a great writer, but t I am not sure if I consider him an art critic. But reading Aftenposten's main critic, Lotte Sandberg's review of the exhibition Fantastic Politics: Art in Times of Political Crisis, I understand why I just might be forced to:
Engagement!
although Sandberg's reviews I have read and enjoyed the last decade or so; she is a bit pissed off, a bit angry, a besserwisser and dares to be subjective, there is no engagement in her texts anymore. She goes through this exhibition and register that there are pieces of art compiled together making it what we call an exhibition of art. And in my opinion it looks like it does not engage her much. I might be mistaken, but why write about it then? at least when Tommy Olsson doesn't like the exhibition, he starts to wonder off in "Olsson-land" and it is fun to read. Sandberg is just boring. Boring reviews like boring sex: better off without.






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What went wrong Mr. Putin? 

The Girl Has A Date, 2006, colour photo, 140 x 100 cm
Blue Noses Group

A few days ago, this blog (that I am not allowed to linkthat I am not allowed to link to ) pointed out that Matthew Brown (the art dealer) was hold by the police for several hours and was not allowed to taking art works from the artist collective Blue Noses Group. He had to leave the works behind.

Now, what is wrong with Mr. Putin?
Where did he go wrong?
The Economist of July 15th this year points out that even though the first signs came with the Ukraine president election where Russia's choice was not elected and the more Pro-western candidate did win - followed up by the September 2004 siege of the Beslan school and then one year later the attacks on the oil firm Yukos - there are no particular moment when he "started to go wrong".

I agree with that, but I ask myself how can a country, in the middle of Europe with 80 mill. inhabitants (Germany) be able to support Russia. The former Bundeskanzler, Gerhard Schroeder, was very found of Mr. Putin (He should be, his political connections to Mr. Putin made it possible for him, in no time at all, to adopt a Russian 2 year old child - although he is way past 40, in his third marriage - so his wife), and have no intentions, even in this weeks interview in Der Spiegel, to criticise Mr. Putin. Also the Kanzler of today (The first woman as well as the first from east-Germany), even being more sceptical towards Mr. Putin, not criticising him at all.

Is it just me, or might this be a start of a new fascist state?


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