Local authorities in Stockholm have been encouraging new art spaces in the suburbs of the city to bloom for political reasons which has left visiting people complaining about the long distances between the spaces for art. The city in itself is quite small but many of the spaces for contemporary art are situated far outside the city centre which makes it hard to find time to visit places like Tensta Konsthall, Botkyrka Konsthall, Magasin 3 and Färgfabriken all in one day. The commercial galleries on the other side have however more traditionally been concentrated to the more posh area of Stockholm – where the old money resides – but during this autumn some of the best galleries will change their area code and move together into a new cluster in the north west of the city centre, at Hudiksvallsgatan.
Six of the galleries will be sharing the same backyard together: Brändström & Stene moved in already in 2004; and Galleri Natalia Goldin opened up the new space in March 2007; Galleri Mia Sundberg and Galleri Andréhn-Shiptjenko will be relocating to the building; dealer Christan Larsen will open as well as Gallerie Nordenhake who will re-launch a Stockholm space (keeping their Berlin gallery) – all will open in late august 2007.
The mentioned galleries have dubbed the new area as “Stockholm’s Chelsea”, a slight exaggeration to say the least, but there are in fact a few more spaces of interest in the same area. The young gallery Loyal resides close by as well as Stockholm’s youngest and freshest Kunsthalle – Bonniers Konsthall. Jeanette Bonnier is the initiative taker to the privately run Kunsthalle that opened its newly built space last autumn and is lead by Sara Arrhenius, previously director of IASPIS.
Considering the high amount of contemporary galleries and other non-commercial spaces for art in Stockholm per capita, the contemporary art scene is however still amazingly mellow. During the last decade very few new commercial galleries has opened up shop while at the same time the art academies has continued to produce new artists. The programmes of the many Kunsthalles and commercial galleries don’t necessarily ooze of zest and enthusiasm and many are still playing with safe cards unfortunately. The fact that the same few persons reside in many of the board of directors of the Kunsthalles, Museums and funding boards is most likely a big part of the problem. In an interview (DI Weekend, 2-3 February) the director of the Moderna Museet, Lars Nittve was quoted on the subject that “It is a bit of a tradition to reside in each other’s boards to share experiences and contacts, it is all for the best of the art and the audience’s sake”, and by this ignoring the fact that what might be in the audiences interest is influx with new ideas, new contacts and other experiences than the already circulated.