Kulturhuset, with its central location, free entry (not including exhibitions) and the café overlooking the city, is a popular meeting spot in Stockholm. Currently, Gallery 5 on the 3rd floor showcases Vivian Maier’s Chiago and New York street photographs of the 1950s and ’60s.
American-born Vivian Maier has caused quite a stir within photography world. For most of her adult life, she worked as a live-in nanny. Although she didn’t much like children, the profession enabled her to wander the streets with a camera and her bored little protégés in tow. Her daily walks resulted in approximately 150,000 negatives that the world never saw or appreciated until after her death in 2009.
Maier’s work was acquired by three collectors in 2007, after she had stopped payment on a storage facility. Though they were initially put online by one collector in 2008, it was not until 2009 – the year of her death – that another of the collectors linked his blog to her work and sparked massive interest.
Her work is notable for its interest in common humanity and particularly its attention to women and children. Her eye for visually interesting yet calm, everyday scenes sets her photographs apart. She also took numerous photos of herself, which, paired with the fact that these are the only autobiographical record we have of her, creates a compelling mystery.
If you’re hoping to stop by Kulturhuset to see Maier’s work during your lunch break or to kill time in between meetings – don’t, it’ll be a waste. To really make the most of the exhibition, set aside at least two to three hours.
Apart from the photographs, the exhibition includes two feature-length documentaries on Vivian Maier’s life and work, plus a few short movies by Maier herself (hence, three hours). Try not to skip any of these – as much as the photographs make for a compelling aesthetic experience, you won’t fully comprehend the Maier phenomenon until you see them. Where did she really come from? What do the families she worked for have to say about her? Many questions were asked and answered with a few juicy bits highlighted.
Expert tip: Stop by the wall of mirrors and take a selfie, just as Maier used do. If you Instagram it and hashtag with #vivianmaiersthlm, you can join the virtual party.
103 27 Stockholm
Mon 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Tues- Fri 1:00 – 7:00 pm
Sat & Sun 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
100 SEK/adult, 80 SEK/seniors & students
On until 22nd May, 2016
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