If you’re interested in modern and contemporary art, Stockholm is the place to be. The city has a thriving art scene, with dozens of galleries and museums showcasing the latest trends in art. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best modern and contemporary art galleries and museums in Stockholm. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just getting started, there’s something for everyone here!
Best Modern Art Museums & Galleries in Stockholm
The National Museum in Sweden is famous for its art collection which consists of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art dating back to the 1500s. The total number of items in the collection is approximately 600,000. You will find masterpieces by Rembrandt, Watteau, Edouard Manet, Johan Tobias Sergel, Carl Larsson, Carl Fredrik Hill, Ernst Josephson, and a great collection of modern art jewelry.
In recent years, the museum has undergone renovations and reopened in October 2018. Visitors to the National Museum can expect to see a wide variety of art, from traditional works to more modern pieces.
The museum is also home to a café and restaurant, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring the world of art.
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art is housed in a 1930s warehouse at the capital’s old free port. It has a large exhibition area of around 1,500 square meters which it uses to present ambitious shows for mid-career internationally established artists, like Irish sculptor Siobhán Hapaska.
Magasin III was founded in 1987 and has also developed a private collection of over 600 works, including many pieces from artists showcased over the years.
Two galleries are dedicated to displaying works from this permanent collection. In recent years, Magasin III has expanded its scope to include lectures, talks, and collaborations with other art institutions as founding members of FACE.
Wetterling Gallery has been a leading force in the Scandinavian art world since it opened its doors in 1978. The gallery has played a pivotal role in introducing international artists to the local scene, while also championing the work of Swedish artists.
Wetterling Gallery hosts around seven exhibitions annually, presenting the works of both well-established and emerging talent. World-famous individuals, such as Pop Art exponent James Rosenquist, have had recent shows here.
The gallery’s founder, Björn Wetterling, has chaired The Swedish Gallery Association since 2010, and the gallery has been actively involved in the international art scene, participating in around four major fairs per year.
Wetterling Gallery is committed to promoting the very best in contemporary art, and its track record speaks for itself. If you’re looking for an introduction to the Scandinavian art scene, then this is the perfect place to start.
The Art Nouveau building containing Fotografiska, formerly an old customs house, was designed by acclaimed Swedish architect Ferdinand Boberg. Today, it is home to one of the best photography museums in Scandinavia.
Every year the museum stages between 15 and 20 major exhibitions, which have presented internationally renowned photographers, including Swedes Helena Blomqvist and Klara Källström.
Photography shows at Fotografiska explore many different themes, such as Roger Ballen’s black and white depictions of human or animal absurdity, and Sebastião Salgado’s images of parts of the world that have escaped modern civilization.
Visitors to Fotografiska can also enjoy after-hours music events and excellent views of Stockholm from its dining spaces. Themed cafe and bar menus are available, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options clearly marked. On the top floor is a fine-dining restaurant with seasonally changing menus that make use of locally sourced ingredients.
Despite its name meaning “photographic” in Swedish, visitors don’t need to be photography enthusiasts to enjoy a trip to this stunning museum – although they may well be by the time they leave!
Founded in 2006, Bonniers Konsthall is a Sweden-based contemporary art museum that derives its name from the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation. The foundation awards a grant to a young Swedish artist every year, and the latest contemporary art is presented in a varied exhibition program of themed group and solo shows at the Bonniers Konsthall museum.
American photographer and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart is one of the artists of international caliber who have displayed their works at Bonniers Konsthall. Lockhart is known for her immersive approach to foreign communities, spending long periods of time in order to document the everyday lives of people who are often overlooked.
This educational quality is reflective of the many activities undertaken by Bonniers Konsthall, which include collaborating on cultural research projects and art publications. In addition to being a space for world-renowned artists to showcase their work, Bonniers Konsthall is also home to its own diverse collection of contemporary art.
Modern Museum is located on Skeppsholmen, an island in the heart of Stockholm. The museum houses a collection of Swedish, Nordic, and international modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and art films dating from 1900 onwards.
The museum also has a comprehensive collection of photographs from the 1840s onwards. Modern Museum organizes several major exhibitions each year, as well as a variety of smaller exhibitions.
It also collaborates with institutions outside of Sweden to develop touring exhibitions. Whether you’re interested in Swedish art or international contemporary art, Modern Museum is definitely worth a visit!
Wip Konsthall is the gallery belonging to Wip:sthlm (work-in-progress), a collaborative venture involving 93 artists. Their purpose-built space covers two floors comprising 83 artist studios, a gallery, and shops, including a bookshop.
Since 2007 Wip Konsthall has presented a program of cutting-edge exhibitions mostly designed by its artists, but sometimes in collaboration with outside contributors.
Past shows have displayed experimental and conceptual art, such as Melissa Henderson’s paintings, sculptures, and videos exploring obstacles that prevent speech and self-expression.
Wip:sthlm has also promoted art projects in conjunction with the Swedish city of Umeå, the 2014 European Capital of Culture. In addition to its exhibition program, Wip Konsthall also offers an array of events and workshops for the public, making it a vital hub for the city’s artistic community.
Sven-Harry’s Art Museum
Sven-Harry’s Art Museum is a must-visit for art lovers in Stockholm. Founded by Sven Harry Karlsson, the museum features a 400 square meter art gallery with exhibitions primarily of Swedish artists.
The gallery is divided into three halls, and also features a media room downstairs where film and video programs are displayed in connection with the exhibitions.
A unique piece of the art gallery is located on the roof of the building – a copy of Sven-Harry’s former home, a 1700s farm. This allows visitors to step into Sven-Harry’s ‘home’ and take part in the art collection he has built up over 35 years of dedicated collecting.
In addition to the art gallery, the museum also houses a restaurant, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring Swedish art and culture.
Map of Art Museums, Galleries & Public Art in Stockholm
Free museums in Stockholm
One of the nice things about the art and culture scene in Sweden’s capital city is the many free museums in Stockholm. The Swedish Museum of Natural History is admission-free, and Moderna Museet‘s permanent collections are free to visit but temporary exhibitions require tickets. Other popular Stockholm museums that are free are The Army Museum, Nationalmuseum, and The Royal Armoury.
Other Museums in Stockholm
Fan of pop music and ABBA, your visit to Stockholm will not be complete without a stop at the museum dedicated to the iconic Swedish quartet. At the ABBA The Museum, which is an interactive museum you can virtually try on ABBA’s costumes, sing, play, mix original music and become the fifth member of ABBA by performing on stage together with Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha.
Another unique museum in Stockholm is The Nobel Prize Museum located in the heart of Stockholm, the Old Town (Gamla Stan). While not exactly an art museum, The Nobel Prize Museum illustrates a century of creativity, where visitors can follow the changes of the 20th century through the Nobel Prize and the Nobel Prize laureates.
You can explore the work and the ideas of more than 900 creative minds which are presented through short films, original artifacts, and computers. It is an important museum to visit in Stockholm!
The Vasa Museum (the most visited non art museum in Stockholm) is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården that displays the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has been salvaged.
Public Art in Stockholm
From Subway stations to parks, squares and streets, you will find street art murals and public art everywhere when walking around Stockholm. Stockholm’s metro is almost like the world’s longest public art exhibition, with art on its platform, walls, and in the subway stations.
Don’t miss the rainbow-themed Stadion station and the science-focused Tekniska Högskolan station on the red line, head to Kungsträdgården on the blue line to see the sculptures and mosaic ceiling.
Another famous Public Art in Stockholm is Iron Boy – Boy watching the moon. Sweden’s smallest public statue (and perhaps Stockholm’s most beloved artwork) can be found in the courtyard of Stockholm Cathedral in the old town, Gamla Stan. Today he is simply called ‘Järnpojke’ (‘Iron boy’). The statue is only 15 cm tall and was made by artist Liss Eriksson in 1967.
People often dress the little statue in hats and scarves or leave him gifts. See where to find him and other public art in Stockholm.
Stockholm City Council has 1%-rule that was implemented in 1963, which means that one percent of the total cost of built projects (including new construction, conversion, and extension) shall be allocated to publicly accessible artwork. Art is for everyone to enjoy here in Stockholm!
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