Educational Programs

Ulf Eriksson is in charge of the educational program for the exhibition. Because of the graphic content of McCarthy's work, the education department plans to operate in a somewhat different manner than they would for most other contemporary exhibitions. Eriksson explains, "We have been in contact with colleagues at Tate Liverpool in the UK for example, which held a Paul McCarthy survey show a couple of years ago. Their experience was that the audience was a bit distressed about the content. We have discussed a lot how to be prepared for the situation and how we could work with the staff and our hosts in the museum galleries, to have discussions with the audience." In addition to offering contextual discussions, guided tours, wall texts and a study area with relevant literature, the education department is also considering the production of a documentary film on the artist. This is something Moderna Museet has done for some shows, and for this exhibition it seems especially important to give the audience an introduction to the artist's practice.

Moderna Museet is also planning a seminar to be held during the exhibition. This seminar will focus on censorship in museums, which has become a topic of debate in Sweden during the last year. In January 2005, a work by Dror Feiler and Gunilla Skšld-Feiler, shown at the Historical Museum in Stockholm, was attacked and partly destroyed by the Israeli ambassador in Sweden. He believed the work glorified Palestinian suicide bombers. As af Petersens explains, "Some institutions have removed art works because they have received reactions that they were unprepared for. My interpretation is that they hadn't realized that the works could offend somebody, and they didn't know what to do when it happened. Or there was a lack of communication between the curator and the management of the museum." Moderna Museet hopes that the seminar will encourage discussions on how museums should act in similar situations and also how they can prepare themselves when working with potentially controversial subject matter so that censorship or self-censorship can be avoided. In addition to this seminar the education department is preparing smaller conversations on topics that might arise during the exhibition. There is a lecture series called ApropŚ (apropos), which focuses on subjects relevant to a particular exhibition or work.

The education department is considering creating a special Web site for the exhibition, on which there could be a debate forum. This would allow the audience to follow the discussion around the exhibition even after they have left the museum. There will also be extensive educational material available online.

The museum is also considering recommending an age limit for entry to the McCarthy show. Because of the graphic subject matter of the works, they feel it might be unadvisable for children to see this exhibition, especially on their own. "I think that if you are very young then some of McCarthy's works can be very hard to understand. They can be frightening with long violent scenes. Especially some of his later works are quite realistic." Although admission to the exhibition is free, an advisory note will state that the exhibition is not suitable for children.

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