From Iceland — Grapevine's Best Of 2017: Best Art Museum

Grapevine’s Best Of 2017: Best Art Museum

Published March 6, 2017

Grapevine’s Best Of 2017: Best Art Museum
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Everyone who comes to Iceland is pretty keen make the most of their time here, and whether that means a week of carefree holiday meandering or a laser-guided approach to finding the best stuff, a couple of insider tips are always useful. In this fast-changing city, new places spring up from week to week, begging the questions: which pool has the best hot pot for your first morning here? Where’s the best Icelandic art at? And what’s the best road trip to see some of this amazing nature we’ve heard so much about?


The National Gallery by Art Bicnick The National Gallery
Fríkirkjuvegur 7
Iceland’s National Gallery sits on the shore of the town pond, Tjörnin. Our panel praised its “interesting mix of older international exhibitions, often from Nordic and older Icelandic artists, alongside people like Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois and fairly out-there contemporary stuff.” They also liked the museum’s “interesting mix of provocative new work and 20th century Icelandic work that isn’t on display at other museums.” It’s a labyrinthine network of spaces where you could easily spend an afternoon.

Runners Up

Hafnarhusid_2_by_bicnick Hafnarhúsið
Tryggvagata 17
Hafnarhúsið is a cathedral to contemporary art that shows a constant conveyor belt of interesting international work, from Cory Arcangel to Richard Serra to Yoko Ono. They have several shows to see on any visit, and you can see some classic Icelandic work here, too. There’s a great shop and a library and café, making it a great rainy day destination.  
kjarvalsstadir by art bicnick Kjarvalsstaðir
Flókagata 24
This beautiful space is located in a park just on the outskirts of downtown, between the city centre and the Kringlan mall. Our panel said “it’s your best chance to see modern and contemporary Icelandic painting. It’s got a nice café. And, it’s adjacent to a frisbee golf course.”

Previous Winners

2016: Hafnarhúsið
2015: Reykjavík Art Museum
2014: Reykjavík Art Museum
2013: Reykjavík Art Museum
2012: Reykjavík Art Museum
2011: Einar Jónsson Museum

You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at

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