Stockholm's New Modern Art Museum

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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. The low-key approach doesn't mean the museum is self-effacing, just that it saves its ambitions for what's inside. The Moderna has a fine collection, including 50,000-square feet of exhibition space that is twice the size of the old museum.

The new museum's opening last month was a highlight of Stockholm's year as Cultural Capital of Europe. Founded in 1958, the Moderna's collection is strong in works from the 1950s and '60s. Keeping with the museum's modest design, the exhibition doesn't supply explanatory - or lecturing - text. Viewers are left to draw their own interpretations.

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Judging by the Moderna, Swedish artists didn't break any ground this century but grew fine crops after someone else's plowing. Especially notable are Otto Carlsund's cubist paintings that are both cheerful and disciplined and Erik Olson, whose "The Day Through the Night" arranges natural forms such as seashells and branches to look surrealistic.

Museum director David Elliott hopes that the facility's quiet architecture will allow visitors to pay more attention to its art. "Art needs that commitment of your time and attention ... it's that serious," he says.

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