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Over the years, Reykjavik has developed an international reputation as a growing creative hub for both emerging and established visual artists. Its innovative contemporary art galleries come in all shapes and sizes, and edgy new experimentations sit alongside works in traditional media, as Icelandic exhibitors work with talent from around the world. Don’t miss these great contemporary art galleries and museums when you visit Reykjavik.
The Ásmundarsalur Gallery is located in a charming 1930s building designed by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, who used it as an artist’s studio. Previously, it also hosted an art school and it was here that many of the most important early avant-garde activities in Iceland took place. Today, Ásmundarsalur is a non-profit space that focuses on all forms of art and design. It’s well worth a visit to see the often unusual and exciting exhibitions, and to admire the beautiful building – it’s built in the “funkis” style, a version of functionalism seen in Iceland and other Nordic countries.
The largest visual art institution in Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum has three venues in the city: Kjarvalsstaðir, Hafnarhús and the previously mentioned Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum and Park. The harsh concrete exterior of Kjarvalsstaðir provides a stark contrast to the beauty of the paintings inside, such as those by Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972), after whom it is named. It displays Icelandic and international art and design, catering to diverse tastes. Entering the scene in 2000, Hafnarhús (Harbor House) nurtures new trends in contemporary art. It is also home to the Erró collection, staging exhibitions devoted to the artist’s work. Additionally, the restaurant at Hafnarhús is one of the venue’s highlights due to its stunning harbour views, and don’t miss Ásmundur Sveinsson’s beautiful domed Ásmundarsafn building.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Rebecca Steel.