The Reykjavik Art Museum is a fun and unique way to learn about many of the different art forms and important artists in Icelandic history. From sculpture, to watercolor, to unique mixed media presentations, this art museum has it all. The Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland was founded in 1973 and is currently the biggest visual arts institution in the country.
The art museum actually encompasses three various locations - Hafnarhus (located next to the old harbor), Kjarvalsstaoir (located by Klambrutin), as well as Asmundarsarn (located in Laugardalur). Between the three buildings, the art museum encompasses over 3000 square meters of space and runs in excess of 20 different art exhibitions every year (most of them on a rotating and traveling basis). The art museum is also currently in charge of the art collection for the entire city of Reykjavik, which includes all public art on display both inside government and public buildings and outside in features like parks and gardens.
In addition to the many special and temporary exhibitions that travel through the art museum, Reykjavik is also home to a significant permanent collection.
? Erro - Guomundur Guomundsson, born in 1932, is perhaps the most well-known contemporary artists from Iceland. After experimenting with different forms of art and media, like cinema and performance art, he settled into his niche of European narrative and pop art. The collection at the art museum was donated by Guomundur Guomundsson (also known as Erro) in 1989. The collection now totals over 4000 different works (more than twice what they started at), including watercolors, sculptures, graphic arts, and collages.
? Kjarval - While Erro is one of the most well-known Icelandic artists, Kjarval may the one of the most beloved. Although he passed away in 1972, his works remain just as strong as ever. His best-known pieces are based on nature in Iceland, and he always enjoyed putting a mystical twist on them. The collection at the art museum consist mostly of sketches and drawings, as well as a general introduction to Kjarval’s career.
? Asmunder - One of Iceland’s sculptural pioneers, Asmunder is often referred to as visual art’s “folk poet.” The majority of his works located at the museum are in the sculptural garden, which opened in 1983.
There are also many other artists featured in smaller amounts.
? Aaron Young - Uncertain States of America
? Erik Frandsen - Carnegie Art
? Society for a Merrier Present
? Viking Eggeling - Cadences of Line & Color
The museum, as discussed above, is well known for bringing in many different temporary and touring exhibitions featuring on all various aspects of Icelandic art. The website maintains a comprehensive and detailed calendar with all of these exhibitions, so guests should check ahead of time to verify what will be on display.
Guided tours of the museum are offered on a regular basis and can be booked either by calling ahead or by stopping at the front desk when purchasing an admission ticket. Group guided tours are given during all open hours Mondays through Fridays. There is an additional charge. Guests should check the website for additional information on admission fees and open days and hours.
Every year, the educational department at the art museum hosts field trips for more than 13000 children. Tours are offered free of charge and will go through each of the 20 different exhibits with an educated tour guide who will work to make sure to focus on any art that fits specifically with the appropriate curriculum of each class. The goal of the education department is to provide students of all age, skill, and knowledge levels with comprehensive and age appropriate art education. The art museum is a great background to provide children with this education, due to its sometimes whimsical and unique atmosphere that engages children at their level. Contact the staff in the educational department at the art museum to schedule a field trip and for additional questions about what it would entail.
For students who are unable to leave their classroom setting, the art museum has mobile exhibits that were built to travel to the classroom instead of needing the classroom to travel to the museum. There are also multiple art education kits that teachers can print out from the museum website or request directly from the staff.
There is a museum gift shop available for guests visiting the art museum, and it sells a diverse selection of art themed gifts like statues, apparel, and other art themed merchandise. Purchases help support the mission of the museum, which is to bring art to everyone through a diverse collection of artwork.
Reykjavik Art Museum, Tryggvagata 17, 101 Reykjavik, Phone: +35-44-11-64-00