Stockholm is filled with vibrant art displays. Like Seattle, there is a city law that says each new building needs to allocate a certain percentage of its construction budget towards public art.
Stockholm’s metro stations are wonderfully decorated, whether by tiling, etched pillars, or colored concrete. Stockholm hosts contests wherein artists submit their proposals, and the winning artist gets to execute on his vision. Typically, the winning theme has some relevance to what is outside the station. For example, Kungsträdgården station has casts of the statues that were displayed at the palace. On another floor, there is imagery from an opera for the nearby opera house. A long, colorful flag is painted on the ceiling.
Below, a construction worker drew a goat, and people thought it was funny, so it was permanently etched into the wall.
T-Centralen station’s blue line is decorated with silhouettes of construction workers to honor those who built the station.
I visited stops along the blue line, which is newer and has these grandly-themed stations.
The Museum of Modern Art is a mixed bag, with some works by famous artists, amazing paintings, photos, and some rather forgettable works as well. There’s a room dedicated to Matisse’s paper cutouts, the largest of which was Apollo. But I felt a surge of excitement when I saw a small cutout, which I recognized from the cover of a piano book I had used in my youth. There was a disorienting painting of William Tell by Salvador Dali. Another painting I liked was a mural that showed a scene as if the people and furniture were constructed out of mirrors. There are sculptures outside too. The attention-grabbing sculpture is of vibrantly colored, playful figures juxtaposed to rusted sprinkler contraptions.
Fotografiska is a photography museum. When we went, the main exhibit was “Like a Horse”, showcasing horse-themed photo series by 30 different photographers. One photographer took photos of children riding through gritty New York City, another photographer dressed up the horses with head accessories and took portraits.
There were portraits by Irving Penn. No matter the subject matter, each was shot in a studio of his with the same plain background. He was an expert in bringing out the essence and personality of his subjects, whether they be skulls, celebrities, or everymen, or marginalized peoples.