Friday, July 12, 2013

Nordiska Museet

This was a cool place.

Built in 1873 by the famed Arthus Hazelius, this museum is unlike any other museum I've ever visited. Rather than exhibiting high art, this museum instead focused on showing artifacts that make up Sweden's cultural history. My favorite exhibit was a collection of chairs (made and used in Sweden) and living room interiors, dating from the late 1800s to today. It's so interesting! Instead of having the mindset that high art is what defines a culture, the Nordiska asserts that the real history of people is recorded in the objects that the common people create and use. I think it actually makes a lot of sense, and after wandering around the museum for a few hours, I can't believe museums like this aren't more common!

I also had the chance to see the an exhibit of folk art, ranging from the late 1800s to now. I had never before appreciated folk art: it always appeared to be ugly, distasteful, and kind of weird. But this exhibit was pretty eye-opening. I  came to understand that folk art is merely one way for people to contribute by creating things themselves. Yes, it's not as beautiful as a Monet or Eames chair, but it is that person's expression of something, an attempt to create. It reminded me of this video. The exhibit also personally taught me a little lesson: people are constantly trying to beautify their lives through hundreds of different ways, whether it be scrapbooking, interior design, singing, photography, or paltry attempts at graphic design. It's not always our place to judge whether it's actually "good," but rather, it's our place to acknowledge that they are making an effort to find beauty.

Another aspect of folk art is the purpose for which it is created. Often the art will stay within the home. It's decorated not to impress the world, but to bring a little bit of beauty to the people whom you love the most. Looking at a case of 100+ wooden spoons, all carved with intricate and diverse handles, helped me understand that.

Another perk of this trip was that my photo was featured on BYU International's instagram page! Woot. Go like it on facebook. 

One of the chairs from the Swedish interiors exhibit.
Love the viking carving that is being resurrected here.

I loved this collection of hinges from the late 1800s.
Bet you never thought that hinges could be beautiful.
Or so diverse.

Photo by Marcus Christiensen. We had headphones for
virtual tours! The magic wand things were to point at the
receivers by the art, and then we could listen about it.
This is our group!

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