Possibly the world capital of design, Stockholm is an intriguing city, that mixes history and modernity. Whether you like Scandinavian design classics, contemporary fashion, or aesthetic cafes and bars, Stockholm is quite honestly the place to visit. Perhaps less popular than Copenhagen, and definitely less touristy than Paris or Rome, Stockholm has the typical Scandi charm and a relaxed atmosphere, guaranteed to make you fall in love.
I have only visited Stockholm once, and it was quite some time ago, but I distinctly remember how it was immediately love at first sight for me. Stockholm has that mix of medieval architecture, contemporary shops, and minimal design, that is quintessentially my style. I remember walking around Gamla stan (the old city), a small island right in the middle of the city, marveling at every building and every quaint corner.
Contemporary art in Stockholm
When it comes to contemporary art, the first image I recall about the Stockholm art scene is the movie The Square, by Ruben Östlund. As crazy as it is, it is one of my favorite movies, since it depicts so well the contemporary art world and what it (sometimes) feels like to work in there.
But if the director chose to set the film in Stockholm, it is because the city is a great spot for contemporary art and it offers many attractions to visit.
In pure Scandinavian style, these museums are real gems, but their style is rather sophisticated and minimal, and they are perfectly in line with the city and its inhabitants. There are no bold, loud, or tacky exhibitions here, just great collections and thought-provoking works.
So, if you (like me) are planning a visit to Stockholm, maybe over Midsummer’s Eve or for the upcoming Stockholm Art Week, here are 4 great museums and art centers (plus 1 extra tip) you need to add to your itinerary.
Moderna Museet is Stockholm’s premier museum of modern and contemporary art. The museum’s collection includes works by many of the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol. The museum’s focus is on promoting contemporary art, and it regularly hosts exhibitions by both established and emerging artists.
Moderna Museet’s collection is housed in a striking building on the island of Skeppsholmen, which was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The museum’s galleries are spacious and bright, providing an excellent setting for the artwork on display. In addition to its permanent collection, Moderna Museet hosts temporary exhibitions, lectures, and other events related to contemporary art.
Exercisplan 4, 111 49 Stockholm, Sweden
Info, tickets, and opening hours: www.modernamuseet.se
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art is a private contemporary art museum in Stockholm. The museum’s focus is on promoting international contemporary art, with an emphasis on works that challenge traditional ideas of what art can be. The museum’s collection includes works by many of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists, such as Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, and Tacita Dean.
Magasin III’s collection is housed in a former warehouse in the Stockholm suburb of Frihamnen. The museum’s galleries are spacious and airy, with natural light flooding in through large windows. In addition to its permanent collection, Magasin III hosts temporary exhibitions, artist talks, and other events related to contemporary art.
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
Frihamnen, Frihamnsgatan 28, 115 56 Stockholm, Sweden
Info, tickets, and opening hours: magasin3.com
Bonniers Konsthall is a contemporary art center in Stockholm that focuses on promoting emerging artists. The center’s exhibitions feature works by both Swedish and international artists who are at the beginning of their careers. The center also hosts talks, screenings, and other events related to contemporary art.
Bonniers Konsthall is housed in a striking building in the Stockholm neighborhood of Norrmalm. The center’s galleries are flexible and adaptable, allowing for a wide range of exhibition formats. In addition to its exhibitions, the center also offers a range of educational programs for both children and adults.
Torsgatan 19, 113 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Info, tickets, and opening hours: bonnierskonsthall.se
If you like emerging artists and forward-thinking exhibitions, then Accelerator is the place for you. Part of Stockholm University, Accelerator is an exhibition space where art, science, and societal issues meet. Its mission is to engage actively with society, producing exhibitions presenting international and Swedish contemporary art.
Accelerator organizes a public program of presentations and talks with artists, researchers, students, and the general public, and its program is driven by an ambition to contribute towards a transparent and empathetic society by opening up opportunities for art to spark discussions and interdisciplinary dialogue.
Frescativägen 26A, 114 18 Stockholm, Sweden
Info and opening hours: acceleratorsu.art
Bonus tip: Artipelag
Granted it is not in the center of Stockholm, another place I would suggest visiting is Artipelag. As the name might indicate, this art center is inspired by the Stockholm archipelago and dialogues with it, both architecturally and conceptually.
A 30-minute ride out of Stockholm, Artipelag is the perfect place to relax and unwind, while also enjoying art, the beautiful surrounding nature, and possibly some music or other activities, which the center offers.
With over 32,000 square feet of surface, the center hosts exhibitions, concerts, bars, a restaurant, and a beautiful walk overlooking the sea. Opened in June 2012, the center was commissioned by Swedish entrepreneur Björn Jakobson and his wife Lillemor, that have been in love with the area and decided to gift the center to the community. The building was designed by the late architect Johan Nyrén to fit into the surrounding landscape, and the center has hosted several exhibitions since its opening to the public.
Artipelagstigen 1, 134 40 Gustavsberg, Sweden
Info, exhibitions, and opening hours: artipelag.se
Cover image by Adrian Trinkaus on Unsplash
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