In December, I spent about 3 weeks visiting Stockholm, Sweden. It was my third time there, but it was the first time I really explored the city on my own.
I spent a fair amount of time studying abroad (a full academic year's worth of credit, to be precise), and have hit more art museums than I think I could recount. But, if I try to remember the highlights, I cannot remember a single photography museum in the mix anywhere. Maybe I missed out. Maybe I went to a handful that weren't memorable. Whatever the reason, photography museums just haven't seemed to stick to travel memories. That is, they haven't until I spent a rainy Saturday morning at Fotografiska.
Fotografiska is an incredible museum for lots of reasons: it's location, it's exhibit quality, it's space, and it's café.
I started on the ground floor with an Elliott Erwitt exhibit that was, by far, my favorite of the lot. A ten minute documentary, "I Bark at Dogs", shed light on the artist's career, aesthetic, and sense of humor. I particularly loved the bit about his "friend", André S. Solidor. The friend, "ASS" for short, turns out to be his irreverent and hilarious alter-ego, whose work, goals, and views about Photoshop are as diametrically opposed to Erwitt's as possible. The "two" artists - and their works - share nothing other than a remarkable sense of humor.
But Fotografiska offers more than just solid exhibits in beautifully designed space; the bistro, which sits atop the museum, offers sweeping views of the city along the water. The decor is cozy and chic, the outlets aren't overly scarce, the lattes are hot, and the pastries are seriously decent. If I ever end up living here, I think I'll purchase a museum pass just for open access to this lovely café.
Finally, it's got one of the best gift shops I've seen in a while. I hate to even called the thing a "gift shop" because the moniker denotes some kind of last ditch effort to profit off patrons by selling them cheesy junk. The shop at Fotografiska is full of all kinds of neat finds, ranging from stunning coffee table books, to beautiful journals, to unusual but readable nonfiction books, and a wide assortment of unusual and clever "stocking stuffer" finds. I walked out with a surprisingly fun (though extremely nerdy) book called Is that a Fish in Your Ear?: The Amazing Adventure of Translation and am enjoying reading it right now.