The Swedish capital's new museum of modern art isn't one of those grandiose edifices that proclaim a visitor will find Great Art within. A visitor may have trouble even finding it.
The Moderna Museet is off on one of the city's smaller islands, down a road that looks like a country lane, almost hidden behind some 19th-century barracks. Its low red-brown walls and modest mansard roof line, designed by Spain's Rafael Moneo, are the antithesis of standout structures such as the shiny, sinuous new Bilbao Guggenheim.Founded in 1958, the Moderna's collection is strong in works from the 1950s and '60s, a period when the art world was especially fertile, febrile and often funny.
Standout pieces from that period - often loaned to blockbuster exhibitions at other museums - include Robert Rauschenberg's amusing though cryptic angora goat with a tire around its torso and Edward Kienholz's disturbing installation, "The State Hospital," in which a man lies in a filthy mental hospital, dreaming of himself.
The exhibition "Wounds: Between Democracy and Redemption" addresses nothing less than "the necessity of modern art," museum director David Elliott said.
"The wound can be expressing the idea that art is made of points of friction . . . the cut that art makes through the smooth homogenous surface of established culture," he said.
"The third idea of a wound is a story that begins in doubt and ends in astonishment or wonder. Only by putting your hand, by feeling and experiencing the wound, can your conventional knowledge and intuition be thrown over. It's the story of Saint Thomas.
"We hope people get the idea," he said, laughing.
The rooms are arranged in a serpentine way so that visitors can drift from one to the other without worrying about missing anything.
From "Wounds," viewers are drawn into the museum's best surprise - the rooms devoted to Swedish artists. There are no big names here, but plenty worth learning.