A wonderful collection of Marocco's thriving indigenous modern artists, illustrating the traditional thuja technique in a modern context. Vibrant colours and shape shock the senses. Particularly recommended is the work of Said Quarzaz and Trifis. Quarzaz makes warped furniture I wish I could own!
Avenue Oqba Ibn Nafiaa, Essaouira
+212 524 78 44 46
Lublin castle is a neo-gothic 1820's construction, with gardens and rooms of Polish art history. There is an amazing ethnography section with modern folk art. Most importantly, it is where I discovered the work of Stanislaw Ignancy Witkiewicz or Witkacy (1885 - 1939) as he is better known. This wonderfully imaginative, boundary pushing creator was home educated by his poet/painter father in the belle epoque of Krakov's intellegensia surrounded by artists, poets and performers. He travelled with the famous anthropologist Malinowski to Papua New Guinea and Australia after the fiance he cheated on shot herself. He was part of the 'formists' group influenced by cubism and futurism. His best work are his portraits of his friends painted under the influence of drugs - he wildly captures their characters like Quentin Blake on acid, sometimes noting the drugs consumed during the session on the portraits!
He also worked massively on avant garde theatre before committing suicide himself and is a national hero/treasure.
More of a museum than a gallery, this quirky museum was the summer home of Dali and his wife Gala. Situated in the picturesque sleepy bay of Portlligat, close to Cadaques on the Costa Brava. You need to book in advance for a timed admission but will be rewarded with an intimate insight into the artist and his work. Highlights include his studio, themed rooms, sculptered eggs and examples of pop art around the phallic shaped pool. Don't expect a trendy cafe or extensive gift shop but you may come away with a smile!
What better way to view an excellent collection of modern art than in an iconic modernist building? Prague’s impressive Veletrzni Palac was built as an exhibition venue in the 1920s to showcase Czech industrial achievements, and the building itself is a real work of art in its own right. Today it is the Czech National Gallery of 'Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries'. Stand in the huge and lofty central atrium and let your eyes wander upwards to the tiers of galleries above you – it is said that even Le Corbusier was taken aback by the sheer scale, proportion and simplicity of the structure. Move onwards and upwards to the fine permanent collections of European and Czech modern art. There are works by Picasso, Rodin, Rouseau, Van Goch and the like, plus pieces by less well-known Czech artists of that era. If you love art you will not be disappointed. Then, if time allows, there will always be the current temporary shows of work by today's artists. Refreshingly, the Veletrzni Palac is situated off Prague’s well-trodden tourist trail but only minutes from the centre via the city’s efficient public transport network.
This art gallery is set in a fortress built between 1776 and 1779 to protect against pirate attacks. In 1974 the architect and artist César Manrique restored and converted it into a modern art gallery and restaurant. What is special about this place is that if the art works fail to enthrall then the building, inside and out, has Manrique's wonderful touch applied to absolutely everything and you cannot fail to be affected by his magic.
Castillo de San José, Carretera de Naos s/n
+34 928 807929
Set in the small, walled medieval town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, a work of art itself, a delightful, white, tunnel-like space displaying a huge collection of exciting contemporary ceramics, by Italian and international artists, ranging from the sublime to the startling, supported by equally exciting paintings and sculptures, all within a few metres of shady bars and gelaterias.
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
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com