Bryggen Museum

Jason and I dashed (literally ran) into the Bryggen Museum to avoid the downpour!  The Bryggen Museum is right next to the UNESCO Heritage Site row houses.  It is about the history of the row houses and the Bergen area.

The bottom floor is the permanent exhibit.  Like most major towns, Bergen had a number of major fires.  Each time, the town rebuilt on top of the remains of the previous one, so Bergen today is ~6 feet higher than the earlier settlements.  Given this, the Bergen museum, encloses some of the earlier foundations which the rebuilds had covered.  They also had a number of artifacts that had been discovered like shoes and tools.  

The upper floor was an exhibit focused on "Great Fire of 1916."  It started as when a few storage workers lit a candle to see in the dark, but unfortunately, it caught spark on the goods in the warehouse.  The Bergen city government took advantage of this horrible misfortune to redesign Bergen into the modern city it is today.  At the time, they broadened roads, added town squares, etc.  They had photographs of the fire at the time.  

This museum did a great job setting the context of the Bryggen row houses and Bergen city as a whole.

Time in museum: 1 hr
Times visited: 1
Overall: B+


Rosenkratz Tower

Jason and I visited this tower while we were in Bergen over our Norwegian cruise.  I have to say I was extremely disappointed.  This is the first "C" I have given out in a while!  

First of all, it was not cheap to get in (then again what in Norway is cheap?), so we figured why not?  The description stated there was a look out, so we thought we could see the building and get a view of the city at the same time.  

The rooms in the tower were close to empty, but did have descriptions on the wall as to what each room's purpose was.  The rooms were quite stark (since this was from the 1500s) with plain walls and wooden floors.  We did not even take any pictures!

Much to our surprise, we did not have a viewing platform!  All of the windows were closed; most of which were leaded glass and obscured anything outside.

Overall, it was just a pretty big disappointment.   

Time in tower: 40 minutes
Times visited: 1
Overall: C


Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

I decided to run over to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reine Sofia Saturday afternoon while I was in Madrid.  It is very close to the hotel we stayed in and I really did want to see Picasso's Guernica, which is the highlight of their collection.

The art museum has a number of temporary exhibits, but the main permanent collection is on the 2nd floor.  The museum is focused on themes like "From Revolt to Postmodernity" and "The Interruption of the 20th Century: Utopias and Conflicts."  I am not sure I completely understood the themes.  They seemed rather arbitrary given the chronological aspects as well.  

The collection has some strong, stand-out masterpieces, of which Guernica is the star.  I had no idea it was so large (11 x ~26 ft).  The museum dedicated ample space to it, which was fantastic.  Given the size of the painting and the crowd looking at it, Guernica has a room to itself.  The materials to learn about the painting were helpful too.  They had some photographs of Picasso and the work-in-progress masterpiece.  I had not realized it had only somewhat recently returned to Spain (1981) and had been in MoMA before that.   I can understand (although they needed to) why MoMA were reluctant to give it up!

I enjoyed the rest of the collection -- I was very happy to see some Dalis and Picassos in Spain!  I found it well edited.  I was not as impressed with some of the exhibits not on the second floor.

I also loved their Calder mobile!

I was very happy I dragged my tired feet to el museo!  Guernica alone was worth it!

Time in museum: 1.5 hrs
Times visited: 1
Overall: A-


Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

On the way back from the Kronberg bike ride, I knew we had to go to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.  They are open late and serve dinner with a view overlooking the Baltic Sea.  

The museum is under construction, but it is still pretty easy to get around.  We had a few times where we thought we would miss something, but lo and behold, we ended up seeing it everything.  

My favorite part of this museum was the integration of inside and outside.  We seamlessly moved from the landscape to the galleries.  All of the glass keeps the museum feeling light and impacts how the art is viewed.

Calder mobile

The Picasso before Picasso exhibit was really interesting.  I had always heard that Picasso was an extremely talented realist painter, and that is what allowed him to break all the rules.  It also allowed him to evolve as a painter (e.g. his Blue period to the rose period to cubism.  If you were looking at these sketches without knowing the artist, I would have never known they were his.  

The Poul Gernes exhibit was interesting too.  I had never heard of this Danish artist before.  We saw his exhibit near the end of our visit and I found the bright colors and mixed mediums a nice variety.  I also enjoyed some of his practical applications (e.g.  the hospital design).  

Some of my other favorites:

Such a unique museum.  I can see why it is a favorite in Copenhagen and larger Denmark.  The architecture and views alone are reasons to stop at this museum; let alone seeing its growing collection of modern art!

Time in museum: 3.5 hrs
Times visited: 1
Overall: A-