James Putnam
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Inspiration – Iconic Works’ – Group exhibition with 40 artists

Curated by James Putnam & Susanna Pettersson

February 20– May 17, 2020


Nationalmuseum, Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, Stockholm

The building blocks of the visual DNA of Western art can be traced back to a number of iconic works, so called signature pieces that have strong relevance in today’s world from the sculptures of antiquity to Mona Lisa and Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker– just to mention some of the examples. Interestingly, the art historical narrative was shaped hand in hand with the collection and display practices of 19th century museums in Europe and these signature pieces play a leading role in the story of art no matter if we look at the earliest art historical publications or the latest versions on the same issue.

‘Inspiration – Iconic Works’ tells the story of the signature works: what they were, where they emerged and why and how they have influenced the contemporary art scene. Another aspect of the exhibition addresses the significance of the museum buildings, for example through a series of contemporary photographic interpretations by Ola Kolehmainen, a Finnish artist based in Berlin. The Nationalmuseum building is also part of the story.A selection from Nationalmusum’s vast collections of paintings, plaster casts, drawings and applied arts is presented in dialogue with the contemporary art.

Participating artists:-Marina Abramovic, Paul Benney, Patricio Bosich, Glenn Brown, Rob & Nick Carter, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Mat Collishaw, Freddy Fabris, Nancy Fouts, Susanne Gottberg, Stephane Graff, Henry Hudson, Tom Hunter, Henrik Jonsson, Mark Karasick, Rachel Kneebone, Ola Kolehmainen, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Heikki Marila, Hynek Martinec, Sara Masüger, Alexander Mihaylovich, Jarmo Mäkilä, Cristiano Pintaldi, Marc Quinn, Recycle Group, Aurora Reinhard, Anna Riwkin, Jenny Saville, Meekyoung Shin, Yinka Shonibare, Kiki Smith, Gavin Turk, Koen Vanmechelen, Nicola Verlato, Hugo Wilson.


Link to Website




Installation view -Gavin Turk, Marina Abramovi

Joseph Kosuth

Glenn Brown

Ola Kolehmainen

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