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Reykjavík Art Museum

Reykjavík Art Museum

Great Exhibitions in Three Locations
A visit to the Reykjavík Art Museum is a must for every art-lover. It is the largest museum in Iceland and displays both modern and contemporary art, paintings, sculptures and works in different media by local and international artists.
The museum is located in three buildings; Hafnarhús, Ásmundarsafn and Kjarvalstaðir and can all be visited in one day by foot or by bus. The entrance ticket is valid on the same day to all the museums.
Besides interesting exhibitions  the museum boosts of shops with a wide selection of  Icelandic design products, art books, exhibition catalogues, postcards as well as casts of sculptures designed by the local sculptor Sveinsson. Hafnarhús and Kjarvalstaðir both ffer a coffee shops serving light lunch with great view and vivid atmosphere.

Hafnarhús (The Harbour House) downtown was built 1932-39. It consists of six galleries on two floors and is dedicated to contemporary art. There are two exhibitions on show at Hafnarhús this season. The one showcasing works by the Parish-based celebrity pop artist Erró who donated a huge part of his lifework to the Reykjavik Art Museum. The other is a temporary exhibition of the works of the Spanish-born artist Santiago Sierra which is on until 15 April.

Santiago Sierra
Sierra is best known for his sometimes shocking documentaries and videos. Sierra has been accused of abusing the miserable situation of less fortunate people by paying them for participating in his works with forms of compensation that many consider extremely problematic. Sierra‘s intention, however, is not to shock, but to shed light on the general public‘s ideas on inequality and the unfair distribution of wealth within the society.
Sierra’s exhibition at Hafnarhús is the artist’s first international exhibition consisting entirely of his documentaries and videos, 51 in total. Sierra’s works are both provocative and radical and truly challenge the audience’s sense of propriety.
Erró – Drawings and Posters
Pop-artist Erró (1932- ) is probably the best known Icelandic artist abroad. In 1989 Erró donated a large collection of his works to the Reykjavik Art Museum. Among these were paintings, watercolours, graphic works, sculptures, collages and other works of art that span the whole artistic career of Erró, all the way back to his childhood.
The Erró collection now consists of more than 4000 art works and is exhibited at Hafnarhús all year round in various themed exhibitions.
Currently there are two exhibitions  by the artist on show, the one showcasing  200 of his drawings and the other one 50 posters. The oldest date back to 1944 and the latest is from present time. Erró’s exhibitions are organized in a close cooperation with the artist and are based on works from both the artist’s private collection and the collection of Reykjavík Art Museum.

The Museum is named after and dedicated to Iceland’s most beloved painter Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972). Opened in 1973, it was the first museum in Iceland ever to be made specifically for visual art exhibitions. The museum honours Kjarval with a permanent exhibition of its collection of paintings and drawings by the artist.
Kjarval was a living legend, a romantic bohemian. His roots lay in the old Icelandic rural community, but his life and art are tightly bound to the cultural awakening of the nation in the first half of the 20th century.
Before his death Kjarval donated a large collection of his work to the city of Reykjavík. The current collection consists of more than 3,000 works. The museum is a ten minute walk east from Reykjavík’s landmark Hallgrímskirkja Memorial Church.

Karen Agnete
‘My Dreamland in the North’ is the title of a temporary exhibition of the works of the Danish-born artist, Karen Agnete Þórarinsson (1903-1992). In 1928, Karen Agnete married her Icelandic classmate at the Danish Art Academy, painter Sveinn Þórarinsson (1899-1977). With a new-born son, the young couple set up a home in the eastern part of Iceland.
Karen Agnete was fascinated by Iceland and Icelanders, and for six decades she painted and exhibited her works. This exhibition highlights the types of paintings she concentrated on, portraits, moods of nature, flowers and still life. The exhibition remains until 4th March.Architecture and Landscape
Snøhetta – Architecture, Landscape and Interior Exhibition is also on until 4 March. It showcases the internationally recognised architecture of the firm Snøhetta from Norway. The firm has won two open international competitions: The new Alexandria Library in Egypt and Oslo’s new Opera House in Norway, both landmarks in their respective countries.
The exhibition pays homage to the 20 year anniversary of Snøhetta and was first displayed at Oslo’s new National Museum in 2009. The current exhibition includes the highlights from that show.

Tàpies – Image, Body, Pathos

The exhibition Image, Body, Pathos starts 17th March and runs until 20th May. It includes paintings from more than seven decades of the impressive creative oeuvre of Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies. Tàpies, born in Barcelona in 1923, had a distinct influence on European painting in the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition gives visitors an up-to-date view of the artist’s astounding, lifelong productivity.

The Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum was formally opened in 1983. The museum is in the former home and studio of sculptor Sveinsson (1893-1982). Sveinsson was one of the pioneer sculptors in Iceland who was inspired by the Icelandic nature and literature as well as the Icelandic people.
Sveinsson, for the most part, designed and built the house himself. His design was influenced by shapes and forms of Egyptian pyramids and round dwellings found in the Mediterranean region. The building dates back to 1942-1950, and shows rotating exhibitions of the magnificent three-dimensional works and drawings by Sveinsson.
A public park with nearly thirty large size sculptures made of bronze and concrete surrounds the building. The park is always open and there’s no entrance fee. The museum is in the eastern part of Reykjavík near the Hilton Hotel, Grand Hotel, Reykjavík’s largest public swimming pool - Laugardalslaug, the National football stadium, the Reykjavík Botanical Garden and The Family & Zoo Park.

Opening times
in winter until end of April:

Hafnarhús – Tryggvagata 17, 101 Reykjavík.
Open daily 10-17. Thursdays 10-20.

Kjarvalsstaðir – Flókagata, 105 Reykjavík.
Open daily 10-17.

Ásmundarsafn – Sigtún, 105 Reykjavík.
Open daily Oct-Apr. 13-17 / From May 2012 daily 10-17.


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