The first thing you see as you enter Edinburgh’s Dean Gallery is Eduardo Paolozzi’s huge Vulcan, a seven metre high Roman fire god made of multi-faceted metal striding among the café tables. The gallery also has a recreation of Paolozzi’s studio: you can stand for hours spotting all the little toys and bits of junk he used for inspiration. There’s an excellent programme of temporary exhibitions too, and Scotland’s best brownie in the café.
Although Louisiana has some of the biggest names, there is no need to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the uniqueness of the place. There is an incredible alchemy between art and building, which allows us to see the works exhibited in a different way. Also a visit to the park is a must - in sunny weather don't forget to take a picnic and enjoy the view on the Oresund looking at Sweden - if you are lucky! Little ones won't be bored either with the excellent 'children's wing' where they can make their own modern masterpiece.
Art for art's space. Dia Art Foundation's gallery at Beacon exemplifies what New York does best - converting disused industrial space into space for art. At over 240,000 square feet this ex-box printing factory, located just over an hour's train ride away from Grand Central Station up the Hudson River, houses art on a grand scale. Each gallery is devoted to a single artist - from Beuys to Judd to Warhol (72 of them!) Including monumental holes in the ground and obligatory piles of shattered glass this is art, and as importantly a gallery, on a scale to take your breath away and make you smile. Follow with a stroll up the river and lunch in the groovy Beacon.
Under represented in the guide books and slightly away from the heart of Milan, the Triennale, in the gardens of the Castello Sforzesco, is a museum of modern applied arts.
There are usually four or five temporary exhibits, covering an eclectic mix of different disciplines. When I was there the standout was an outstanding retrospective of the work of Milanese designer and architect Marco Ferreri.
A great place to people watch too, as an indoor alternative to gawping at the fashionistas in the Quadrilatero della Moda!
Love Picasso? Cezanne? Hepworth? Piper? European and British 20th Century modern art? Chichester's Pallant House Gallery has it all, in a fab modern gallery attached to a gracious 1712 town house. Ancient and modern in one. A dreamy view of the cathedral, friendly staff and volunteer guides, a restaurant overlooking a leafy courtyard garden, a good book shop, art library, talks, workshops and community involvement. Shame you've just missed artists' Christmas cards in the print room, but now you can enjoy Garrick Palmer's wood engravings instead. There's such variety, something for everybody, but without cultural indigestion. Spend an hour or a day here. Stand and stare, be inspired, perhaps even take part in making art.
The Guggenheim is such a contrast in an otherwise old and somewhat industrial Bilbao. Ultra modern and unmistakable building - both inside and out, it should not be missed. After your visit, wander down from the Guggenheim to the 'old town' for great old buildings that house terrific traditional tapas bars and cafes where you can sit and watch the world go by whilst dipping your churros into some thick hot chocolate!
Modern art museums have become our cathedrals of today. The buildings pretentious or vaccuous. The Kolumba Art Museum is not only a great building, but a synthesis of the aesthetic and the ascetic. Peter Zumthor's design gives space for reflection. There is no cafe or gift shop to speak of. The few windows are inward looking as are we, while we focus on the art within. Built over the ruins of the bombed church this modern building allows its history to breathe. A sound installation of pigeons by Bill Fonatna in the exposed ruins echoes the sentiment that the old is as relevant to us now as the beautiful contemporary art on display. Go, allow yourself to be seduced and taken on a sensual journey that will satisfy your soul. Less a place to be seen than a place to be.
The most spectacular views from any gallery in Great Britain. Northwards from the glazed rotunda over the shimmering sands of Porthmeor beach where über-cool surfers seem to dance on the crashing waves and east across mediterranean blue St Ives Bay to Virginia Woolf’s brilliant white lighthouse at Godrevy. The St Ives school of painters flourished in the mid 20th Century and their life affirming take on modernism reflected the ancient landscape and wild Cornish sea. Afterwards exploring the narrow lanes of the ‘downalong' fishing community of St Ives or walking the coastal path to magical Zennor you will quickly understand why so many creative people have been drawn to this very special place.
Duckett and Jeffreys is the sort of contemporary modern art gallery you'd expect to see in Cork Street, London, except this is in Malton a small rural market town in the heart of Ryedale, North Yorkshire. It shows solo exhibitions of work by international artists. It truly is a breath of fresh air, and just what the region needs. This gallery proves you don't have to go to major cities to see superb modern art. In fact I'd go on to say it's the best independently run modern art gallery in the north of England.
This is one of Tokyo's best private art museums and was founded by Mr.Ishibashi (his name means stone bridge) the president of Bridgestone Tyres. It houses a small but impressive collection of French Impressionist art. It is also a rare opportunity to see Japanese paintings in the Western style dating from the Meiji Period onward. Since there are only 10 small rooms of displays, it makes a quick and worthwhile one hour detour if you're in the vicinity of Tokyo JR station (it's a short walk directly east). There is also the delightful, if expensive, 'Georgette' tearoom.
Bridgestone Building, 1-10-1, Kyobashi, Chuo-ku,Tokyo.
Google map: bit.ly/dKUb7i
Tokyo (Yaesu Central exit, 5 min.), Kyobashi (Meidi-ya exit, 5 min.), or Nihombashi (Takashimaya exit, 5 min.). On Chuo Dori (with an entrance around the corner on Yaesu Dori)
An hour’s train ride east of Amsterdam lies the city of Arnhem. The Kroller Muller Museum is a modern art gallery set within the vast 13,590 acre National Park of Hoge Veluwe, where culture and nature come together. The gallery holds an impressive collection including work by Van Gogh, Renoir, Seurat, Picasso and others, and more contemporary work. The surrounding sculpture gardens take up 61 acres, the largest such garden in Europe and display a magnificent collection of sculptures featuring Rodin, Serra, Hepworth, Dubuffet, Oldenburg, and many more set into this natural setting. You can explore the sprawling park on the free white bicycles, via the 26 miles of bicycle paths
The Museum of Spanish Abstract Art houses a magnificent permanent display of abstract painting and sculpture by some of the best modern Spanish artists, such as Chillida, Saura, Tapies and, our favourite, Zobel - works of light, contrast and wonder.
Temporary exhibitions of world artists offer further delights, but perhaps the greatest of all is the museum building itself - the Casas Colgadas, the 15th century houses of stone, wood and plaster hanging over the Hoz gorge. It sounds incongruous but sympathetic reconstruction provides spacious display areas in a contemporary style. And there are the vertiginous views over the gorge. In all, a surprise and a triumph.
Casas Colgadas, 16001 Cuenca
+ 34 969 21 29 83
Google map: bit.ly/eAd4XI
A fantastic museum in a very hidden and beautiful part of Spain. Very few tourists and very authentic. A fantastic modern gallery in a historical setting. The whole of Cuenca is an art lover's haven.
Casas Colgadas, 16001 Cuenca
+ 34 969 21 29 83
Google map: bit.ly/eAd4XI
I recommend the 'Tate Boat' to add an extra dimension to your day of art viewing. You can incorporate the Tate Modern and Tate Britain with a scenic boat trip in the middle. The boats go in both directions every 40 minutes and cost either £3.35 one way with a Travelcard or £5.00 without. If you prefer to make several trips in the day then you can get a Roamer ticket with Thames Clippers for £8 with a Travelcard or £12 without.
www.murallocator.org is a world-wide web of a gallery, to search out murals across the globe. Fascinating murals are on display from the Higgs Boson (ATLAS) detector, in Meyrin, Switzerland to Tupac Amaru Mural of Peru. Five are highlighted in London area, including the stunning Hackney Peace Carnival Mural located outside Dalston East Curve Garden. Dalston Lane is full of hustle, bustle where old and new buildings meet together and the perfect place for this Mural, unveiled by the late Tony Banks in 1985, depicting the Peace Carnival of 1983 and the many issues of the time.
A small but lovely modern art collection exists on the upper floor of the newly refurbished Ashmolean Museum. It contains pieces by lesser known artists in addition to lesser known works by famous artists. I was amazed to see Tea Party in America, one of the first paintings by Howard Hodgkin, created when he was just 16! In addition, until 20 February there’s a special exhibition of sculpture by contemporary British artist Thomas Houseago, the Ashmolean’s first collaboration with Modern Art Oxford.
The National Gallery of Art in Vilnius is one of my favourites. Housed in a contemporary building on the bank of the River Neris, it traces the history of modern Lithuania through art. There is no forgotten Picasso or must-see Monet here to distract you, all the permanent works are 20th and 21st century Lithuanian. A combination of paintings, photography, installations, video and graphic art combine to show the effects that World War II, Soviet occupation, the Cold War and revolution had on art, and the Lithuanian people. There’s some really good stuff here, and all for 6 litas (£1.50).
Interested in modern art? Gallery F15 in Moss, Østfold, is one of Norway’s most innovative contemporary art galleries, with temporary exhibitions covering anything from paintings to 3D installations, sculpture and concept art. The gallery is also home to Momentum, the Nordic festival of modern art, which is held here every other year. Housed in a former manor on Jeløya, with superb views of the Oslofjord and extensive grounds, it’s a lovely place to while away an afternoon. And if you’re in the mood, there are several paths leading into the nearby woods or following the shoreline. Cafe and gift shop onsite.
I was very impressed recently by this museum in Tallinn. Great modern architecture and an impressive modern art collection for such a small country. Little wonder it won the European Museum of the Year in 2008. Thoroughly recommended! :-)
Weizenbergi 34 / Valge 1, 10127 Tallinn
+372 602 6001
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