B2 is a new retail store specialising in selected brands of urban toys, clothing, street art, books and magazines. The shop also houses the UK's first manga library, filled with Japanese language manga books - the store told me that English language books will be arriving January 2008.
B2 is part of Bodhi gallery and cafe. The gallery has a fast turn around of contemporary art shows. It's turning into a nice cultural centre of art, food and shopping.
B2 / Bodhi
214 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA
t. 020 7749 0750
tube: Liverpool St, Aldgate East, Bethnal Green.
The Hoge Veluwe national park is a few miles north of Arnhem. As you cycle through the dense forest and heath land you suddenly emerge in what - surreally - appears to be a desert. Sand dunes stretch out into the distance as you follow one of the well-signposted cycle routes.
Heading back into the woodland you reach the centre of the park: the Kroller-Muller Museum - one of the largest galleries in the Netherlands and home to significant works by Van Gogh, Seurat, Picasso and Mondriaan.
Don't bother hiring a bike - the park provides thousands of free cycles, which can be picked up from designated areas.
These are two first-class galleries, across the road from one another, in Belford Road, some 15 minutes' walk from the city centre. The collections are diverse, of very high quality, and contain a comprehensive display of painting and sculpture from 1900 to the present time.
Only a portion of the entire holding can be shown at any one time. Accordingly a selection is rotated periodically, with special exhibitions mounted in the Dean Gallery, where there is, in addition, a permanent show of the work of Eduardo Paolozzi - a local hero with an international reputation.
Entry is free. The galleries have shops, selling scholarly material as well as postcards and gifts, and the Cafe Newton in the Dean Gallery is particularly attractive, with good food at sensible prices. The staff at both galleries are welcoming and helpful.
Belford Road, Dean Village, Edinburgh. Number 13 bus, or the National Galleries of Scotland free bus service, which runs a return journey, every 45 minutes, from the National Gallery complex in the city centre and visits each of the five national galleries.
Pleasant art and photography gallery, which sells and exhibits work by local artists, as well as housing illuminating photos documenting Odda and Tyssedal, pre, post and during industrialisation.
Escape the culture vultures at the Louvre or Musee d'Orsay - head out to the 16th district for the Musee Marmottan.
There, in a peaceful mansion, you'll find the largest Monet collection anywhere. See the entire range of his work, culminating in the Giverny Nympheas, displayed in a wonderful circular gallery.
Admire works of many other Impressionists, including one of the few women, Berthe Morisot, Manet's sister-in-law. Easy to get to (four buses, metro), opposite a delightful park, near good, cheap restaurants - a day out of Paris, in Paris!
If you are under 26, you can visit the Louvre for free on Friday evenings. In an expensive city, this is more than just helpful euro-pinching.
You can arrive as the setting sun catches the top of the glass pyramid (making for the perfect ‘I heart Paris’ portrait) then dash to all the best bits while everyone is making their way out.
As you stand tête-à-tête with the Mona Lisa, you might finally realise what all the fuss is about.
This is a must-stop during your weekend in Bruges! Svein Koningen is an Australian abstract artist that moved to Bruges only two years ago.
You can see his studio and his large stock of beautiful abstract works. His style is very experimental so there is something for everyone, brilliant colours and deep textures.
He and his wife sell directly from their studio at half cost what his galleries charge. Stop by for a browse and share a glass of wine with Svein and Dianne, it's sure to be the higlight of your trip to Bruges.
Korte Vuldersstraat 17, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Lovely gallery in a superb location specialising in modern and Ligurian art, with possibly the friendliest staff ever.
We arrived to be told it was closed (out of season), but instead of that being that, the staff had a little chat between themselves and decided that it would be OK for us to go and look at everything anyway.
They gave us a book, got the caretaker and he proceeded to take us up to where every piece of art they owned was in storage! Hung on rollers in a vast space in the attic.
No way would they have the space to show everything in the museum, yet they let two tourists have the run of the place. Great fun and a truly once in a lifetime experince. The sort of thing that only the owners and workers of galleries get to do.
Via J. Ruffini 3, Genova
Fantastic and underrated modern art museum/ gallery on Djurgarden (past the huge tourist destination, Vasa Museum). Every year it hosts about four exhibitions of contemporary and modern art.
We were there for an exhibition of Alberto Giacometti and it was amazing to see 'Walking Man 1' in full height. His drawing and paintings were an absolute revelation and it was a great way of spending the afternoon.
Sick of the layers of history in Istanbul? OK, that's unlikely, but here's an alternative for the culturally omnivorous.
Officially the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, it has both a permanent collection of modern Turkish art and visiting exhibitions and installations and is located in the Tophane district, between Karaköy and Dolmabaçhe palace.
Its location is not obvious, though it is not far from the tramway that runs along Necatibey Caddesi - it is on the waterfront, in a converted warehouse-type building, with stunning views of the Bosphorus from its café. Though some detractors will take delight in spotting international influences on some of the Turkish artists, the place itself is a model of museum/gallery planning, with an excellent shop and impressive education activities.
One of the most charming small museums in Birmingham with a recently added visitor centre and tea room. A real Brummy gem. The house itself is very small, but taken together this is a real treat.
Open from 31st March to 28th October
Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am - 4pm
Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays
Tel: +44 121 464 2193
The Custard Factory is a large former industrial complex housing creative businesses and a number of nice cafes and bars, including the Medicine Bar and Rooty Fruity.
There a few galleries, shops and showrooms that are also worth a visit.
You don't feel like you're in Brum when you visit this place, which for most people is a good thing.
It's a great example of an urban artists' collective, situated in an old crumbling department store from the turn of the century in the middle of the up-and-coming mitte district.
It houses many artists' galleries and workspaces where the public are free to wander and these are often turned into venues for impromptu parties.
There is a great outside space dotted with sculptures and beer served from an old VW van in the back and there's a cafe inside serving food from breakfasts to supper and coffees and hot chocolates and also a venue for live music. A wonderful space just to hang out.
Oranienburger Str. 54
Academie OT301, the former Netherlands Film Academie, is a legalized squat featuring two large performance/rehearsal spaces, a cinema, cafe and gallery space with cultural activities and events. Check it out for the mega-cheap organic vegan restaurant. A meal costs €5 but must be reserved from 4pm on the day; dinner is served at 7pm.
Being a Londoner, I'm spoilt for choice and can visit a different gallery/exhibition every day if I wanted to.
Although the exhibition itself is brilliant in the Tate, the view from the top restaurant is AMAZING.
The sun was beating down and 3 friends and myself sat in front of the huge glass wall looking straight out on to the beach/sea.
Words cannot describe it, it felt we were somewhere in the Med, not England.
Well worth a trip!
Tate, St Ives
This is a new art gallery I found by chance on a recent trip to North West Devon. It has a totally unique piece of street art and some excellent work by Devon-based artists including Ann Fawssett Atkin, beautiful acrylic paintings of birds and Neil Jeffers' eye-popping pop art oils. Fantastic furniture all made from sustainable timber, and some remarkable photography and sculpture.
The Little Gallery on the Farm,
Shebbear, EX21 5RF.
2 miles south of Stibb Cross on the Shebbear Road. 11 miles south of Bideford
Set up in the late 90s by two Dutch art-lovers, this is a gallery with a hotel and restaurant attached.
An old Victorian building is set up a windy driveway and looks over acres of sculpture gardens. These are set to surprise and entertain and wandering down to the brook is a great way to work up an appetite for dinner/ breakfast. The art is inside as well, with a large purpose-built gallery and pictures and works throughout the hotel.
Food is simple, fresh, local and filling. And, best of all, it is very near to Saunton Sands, Woolacombe and Putsborough beaches.
Sometimes the hotel is booked up for weddings or for art conferences but it makes for a really unusual and reasonably priced stay.
+44 (0)1271 850262
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