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An Ode to Copenhagen Art Museums

One of the main ways I’ve learned to make a completely new city feel a little more like home is finding the little pockets of the ‘new but familiar.’ Of course, nothing here is going to feel entirely known, at least not for a while, but whether it’s a warm mug of chai or a song I listened to on repeat months ago, I’ve been finding the little ways to remind myself that moments here can feel like home.

I’ve quickly discovered that art museums are the perfect balance of exciting and new, yet familiar and almost nostalgic. Even in completely new museums, I find the same comforting feeling of walking through the exhibits, reading the descriptions, existing with the works. It all feels very meditative– a ritual of experiencing an afternoon that in any city maintains a feeling of familiarity for me.

I’m lucky enough to be in classes that regularly visit various museums and exhibitions around Copenhagen as a part of the curriculum. As we’re nearing the halfway point of the semester (…how?), I wanted to document the art museums I’ve experienced so far. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the museums here, but I would never have known about some of these without my classes, so I would highly recommend exploring these!

Louisiana The Cold Gaze- Germany in the 1920s

A classic, I’ve quickly learned. This is a museum that everyone here seems to know and love, and it did take a few weeks of people saying they were going to Louisiana for me to stop immediately thinking of the state. Louisiana is really beautiful modern art museum located about a half hour train ride away from the city. My class focused on an exhibit about Germany to get a glimpse of German artwork before our trip to Berlin in April!

Nordatlantens Brygge Atlantikumi

This exhibition is the one I have probably spent the most time with, although sadly it closed sometime in February. I visited this for both my Women, Art, Identity class and my Sense of Place of European Literature class. While a smaller exhibition, this collection of work by three Danish contemporary artists confronts the forgotten history of Danish colonization. The works were incredibly impactful and really helped me reevaluate what it means to truly examine the history of this country.

GL Strand Stepping Out

Entirely filled with work by Chinese contemporary women artists, this exhibit was really interesting to examine through the lens of my feminist art history course. The works heavily focused on the female body and the role of the artist’s own body in creating art. This was located in a building I had actually walked by many times and never would’ve known was an art museum, so I would definitely recommend checking out the current exhibits here.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg Cao Fei and Honey Biba Beckerlee

I saw only a portion of this museum, but it was a fascinating examination of art and technology. One room consisted of an hour-long video exhibit that dealt with the ever-increasing impact of technology on human connection. The pieces pictured above establish a visualization of computer science through woven copper wires and art pieces that mimic neural networks. This museum also has a library attached that looks like a perfect little study spot!

Nikolaj Kunsthal

By far one of the most interesting buildings I’ve ever seen for an art museum. This museum is located in an old church, and the exhibitions really tie into the distinct nature of the space to complement the works. The installations here included visual representations of quantum physics, an audio composition of the beginning of the universe, an examination of religion and female identity, and some strange dog sculptures. It really had it all.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Out of all the museums on this list, this is actually the only one I visited outside of a class trip. This museum is beautiful and so much larger than I realized. I spent hours there and only managed to walk through less than half of the museum. One of the highlights here is definitely the botanical garden/main atrium room. Will definitely be returning to see the other half of the museum (on the last Wednesday of the month because they have free admission)!

So, this has been my semester so far in art museums! Use this as a guide to finding new cool art places to check out or just enjoy my little art rambles– either way, stay tuned to see what art is in store for the rest of the semester!


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