Sunday marked the conclusion of the second annual Stockholm Art Week, and what a week it was! Founded in 2013, Stockholm Art Week is a platform for the Stockholm art scene during which museums, galleries, and cultural intuitions are invited to arrange special events for the public. Many of the players in town participated with extra opening hours, exhibition openings, special events, or free admission. Special events and exhibitions included the Photomarket at Fotografiska, the Stockholm Art Book Fair at the SpiritMuseum, Bukowski’s “The Art of Not Making”, Färgfabriken and Bio Rio’s exhibition of works by Carl Johan de Geer, Crystal’s Grand Finale concluding its seven-year history, and “Art Goes Sport” - a screening of the film “NUG” at Retro Sportsbar.
A number of galleries and museums opened exhibits throughout the week – notably, the Nationalmuseum and Kulturhuset Stadsteatern collaborated on the exhibition “Baroque,” which drew parallels between the baroque era and contemporary art. While many of the pairings were ones you would expect from two large, state-funded institutions, some of the featured baroque parallels were excitingly bold – I was particularly struck (perhaps because I come from the quite-prude-when-it-comes-to-art US of A) by the installation of Juergen Teller’s Luois XV Series, which was placed by the front entrance of the exhibition.
Juergen Teller, Louis XV Series, 2004
Market Art Fair, now in its ninth year, has moved from its previous home at Konstakademien (The Art Academy) to Liljevalchs, in part due to the fact that Konstakademien is housing the Nationalmuseum while it undergoes a major renovation. As a compliment to Market, several galleries in town also staged a “Stockholm Gallery Night” (Gallerinatten) on Saturday, with many of them staying open until 8, and many featuring special exhibitions or openings in honor of the week.
The fair delivered as expected, with booth after booth featuring top Nordic gallery fare. There were some larger than stall-sized works in the Konsthall entrance in an exhibition titled “Market at Large”, as well as an area downstairs titled “Market Emerging.” It’s easy to walk away with your head spinning – inevitably, some booths stand out: some for the right reasons, while others for the wrong reasons. The highlight of the fair was Galerie Leger’s booth featuring the witty and amusing photographs and sculptural works of Peter Johansson – an artist who pokes a bit of fun at himself and his culture, and a welcome break from the other – often-haughty – gallery fare.
Galerie Leger’s booth at Market Art Fair, featuring Peter Johansson’s work
Peter Johansson, The Final Solution to the Problems of Sculpture, 1990-1992
Yet, in contrast, I could not help but hang my head as a gallerist discussed the symbolism and significance of a (beautiful) photograph, completely unaware of the artist's obvious “reference” to Toni Frissell's (1907-1988) 1947 work, Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida (to see the original image, click here).
As an alternative to Market, an exhibition called “Biotop” – organized by Gallery Niklas Belenius and curated by Alida Ivanov – was presented at Biologiska Museet. The show continued the concept initiated at last year’s “Monopoly” exhibition, about which Ivanov explains that “there was a will to show art in a more creative way, rather than confining it to stalls in a fair and placing different galleries, artists and art next to each other on different sides of booth-walls.”
While “Monopoly” was staged in a run-down bank building, “Biotop” took over the oft-forgotten Biologiska Museet’s haunted house-like building on the foothills of Skansen. Music blasted from the building's entrance, wall-hangings filled the downstairs space, while glowing orbs hung from the ceiling and stood on the floor; video works were shown, and dioramas were interspersed with both taxidermy animals and contemporary sculptural works. The exhibition had an energy to it that was all its own – it felt fresh, alive and fun.
In the foreground, a work by Bigert & Bergström, and in the background, a work by Simon Denny/Bruno Liljefors
Works by Nadine Byrne, Bruno Liljefors and Alan Grubesic
Works by Willem Andersson and Skvader
Ultimately, Stockholm Art Week served as a pleasant reminder of how much Stockholm truly has going on in terms of art and culture. The week was well represented by Stockholm’s heavy hitters, and as the years progress and the week becomes an established part of Stockholm's cultural tradition, I look forward to more and more sanctioned and independent alternatives popping up in the vein of “Biotop”, thereby further rounding-out this new and exciting cultural platform.