The 24 Best Destinations For Art Lovers In The World

From the Ancient Greeks and Romans to modern times, humanity has expressed its feelings through the use of art, be it sculptures, pictures, music or cinema. If you are an art lover, you should check these 24 places selected from all around the world in which art is given the place it deserves. Some of them include modern art, while some of them feature more classic art.

#24. Sydney, Australia

More than 100 sculptures are put against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. These sculptures by local and international artists are featured during Sydney’s annual free outdoor art event, known as the Sculpture by the Sea festival. This year the festival will run from October 24 to November 10, and every year almost 500,000 visitors attend. The art event has a length of 1.2 miles from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach clifftops.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The story of the art festival goes back to its first exhibition in 1997. The biggest problem the host had was how to finance the show. David Handley, the Founding Director of Sculpture By The Sea, stated that the first exhibition was run in his lounge room and consisted entirely of volunteers and only with $100 in a bank account. Not much time after the first exhibition, they had 100 artist submissions for the show, media interest, Council approval, and Sydney Water as its principal sponsor.

#23. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The main aim of World Art Dubai is to make art more accessible to collectors from Dubai and the Middle East. This art festival runs from April 3 to April 6, 2019. Prices range from $100 to $20,000 and it will feature galleries from all five continents that want to show and sell the works from established and upcoming artists.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In World Art Dubai, visitors can ask for a personal curator,  and they can also participate in workshops, including paper quilling, glass foil, and the Japanese art of calligraphy. Other things that visitors can try their hand in is the creation of pop art clothing, or using VR gear to move inside a painting. The Abu Dabhi Louvre is just a 1.5 hour drive from Abu Dhabi.

#22. Warm Springs, Virginia

Located in the Allegheny Highlands in a former showring for Arabian horses and boasting 114 acres, the Garth Newel Music Center presents chamber music, bluegrass, folk, blues, and jazz throughout the whole year. The guests are invited to a small but intimate stage by a cowbell and then they are invited to dine with the musicians. In addition to this, guests can spend the night in the art-filled manor in Warm Springs, Virginia.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The Garth Newel Music Center was founded in 1973 and every year they present more than 50 concerts, which are performed by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and other renowned musicians. Chef Josh Elliot is in charge of preparing the gourmet meals that accompany every concert. The music center also provides the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program each summer, which is an intensive 4-week workshop for college-age students.

#21. Atlanta, Georgia

In the last few years, Atlanta has become one of the best cities in the United States for street art. There are around 500 hyper-color murals in the city, that may be on buildings, inside tunnels or even under bridges. There are several self-guided walking tour maps for you to download, but don’t forget to look out for the murals done by the artists from Living Walls.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Living Walls is a nonprofit that aims to spark conversations about public art. In their own words:

“Living Walls promotes the power of public art as a social and economic engine, providing an artistic workforce to create healthy, sustainable urban spaces for the city of Atlanta”.

They have done more than 100 public murals which are featured in the whole metropolitan area, and they have organized citywide conferences that have been attended by more than 5,000 art enthusiasts annually.

#20. Coachella, California

Every two years, Desert X creates an art show featured in the Coachella Valley in the Californian Desert. Across the 50 miles of the Coachella Valley, visitors are encouraged to journey and discover the several sites and art sculptures that are located there. Each sculpture has a very strict relation with the specific cultural and geographical landscapes of the desert.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The biennial exhibition features 18 installations and performances, and this year it will run from Feb. 9 to April 21. Installations are scattered from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea, and beyond. Some of the artists that will be featured this year are Iván Argote, Steve Badgett & Chris Taylor, Nancy Baker Cahill, Cecilia Bengolea, and Pia Camil.

#19. Billund, Denmark

The headquarters of the LEGO toy company is found in the city of Billund, Denmark. The 12,000 square meter LEGO House offers several attractions to visitors, which range from color-coded interactive galleries to brick-filled play zones. Every guest can direct movies, engineer robotic cars and even design cities! If you are hungry, you can eat in a café where you place your order on a LEGO brick and then get served by a robot.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In Denmark, visitors can also go to the first Legoland. It consists of nine LEGO-themed lands for kids to discover. The most interesting part of Legoland is the so-called Mini Land, the place where different monuments and cityscapes from Denmark and all around the world have been built in a 1:20 LEGO scale. Monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Acropolis can be seen here, all in there LEGO versions.

#18. San Francisco, California

San Francisco city is nowadays boasting an extensive light art scene, comprised of eco-friendly LED and neon dazzlers. Each day when the sun is setting, lights are triggered in all of the city’s buildings. For example, the Salesforce Tower glows with 11,000 lights and video screens, while the Bay Bridge has a 1.8 mile-length of LEDs.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Illuminate SF is a year-round initiative presented by the San Francisco Travel Association in collaboration with local, civic and cultural partners, and showcases the city’s public light art installations, most of which are accessible by public transportation and free to view. Given that nighttime hours get longer around the Winter Solstice, Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is the best time frame to visit!

#17. Brumadinho, Brasil

Inhotim Institute sits on 5,000 jungle acres in the city of Brumadinho, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Inhotim serves as an art museum, botanical garden, scientific research center and also as a spiritual retreat. The $1.5 billion collection of the mining magnate Bernardo Paz is located throughout the institute. Visitors are able to experience works such as the giant mirrored kaleidoscope by Olafur Eliasson and the 40 track audio installation of Janet Cardiff.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In 2011, the Inhotim Institute joined the Brazilian government’s official botanical garden association, and the staff has begun an inventory of its 5,000 plant species, including 1,300 types of palm alone. This represents more than 28% of botanical families known to man, and helped the institution receive the title of Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony of Inhotim (RPPN). Inhotim Institute is the only place in Latin America that has the Carrion Flower, a species native to Asia and famous for being the biggest flower in the world.

#16. Mayer, Arizona

Built in 1970 by the visionary architect Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti is known as the “city of the future” and tries to bring together architecture and ecology (“arcology”) in only one place. There are 75 people living in Arcosanti as pioneers, who also run a café and several lofts, and use a foundry to cast bronze bells to sell both onsite or online. Tours of all Arcosanti structures may be provided by several of the residents.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The term Cosanti comes from the Italian words “Cosa” and “Anti”, and literally means “before things”. Cosanti, a non-profit educational institution, focuses on ideas about urban design. According to Paolo Soleri:

“The problem I am confronting is the present design of cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in unwieldy sprawl for miles. As a result, they literally transform the earth, turn farms into parking lots. My solution is urban implosion rather than explosion”.

#15. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Meow Wolf is an art collection that stages its 20,000 square foot “House of Eternal Return” in what was a bowling alley in Santa Fe. In The House of Eternal Return, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits. As it has seen so much success since its opening in 2008, several “outposts” will be launched in other American cities in coming years, such as in Las Vegas in 2019, Denver in 2020 and Washington, D.C. in 2022.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Meow Wolf is comprised of over 300 employees who create and support art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, performance, and more for all of the visitors to enjoy! Its signature art is a mix of “jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art“.

#14. Dundee, Scotland

V&A Dundee was designed by renowned award-winning Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates, following an international competition, and is Kuma’s first building in the UK. Considered by many as today’s quintessential Japanese architect, Kuma is also designing the stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The facade of the V&A Dundee evokes ancient rock strate and the prow of a ship. The interior is layered with vibrant woods, honoring crafts and the reconstructed tearooms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Kuma’s vision for V&A Dundee is that it will be a welcoming space for everyone to visit, enjoy and socialize in – a ‘living room for the city’ – and a way of reconnecting the city to its historic River Tay waterfront. Curving concrete walls (there are no straight external walls) hold 2,500 pre-cast rough stone panels, weighing up to 3000 kg each and spanning up to 4m wide, to create the appearance of a Scottish cliff face.

#13. Penang, Malaysia

Penang Road is the island’s version of Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive and is arguably the most important street in Penang. It runs from Lebuh Farquhar in the north, to Jalan Gurdwara in the south, near the Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak tower, at the junction of Macalister Road. If you happen to be interested in the history of Penang, then don’t miss the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The museum building is a piece of history itself, as it is located in a traditional colonial building that dates from 1821. Inside the building, you will find a wealth of galleries that include an exhibition dedicated to major events that occurred in  Penang over the years. For those visitors interested in street art, they can hire a trishaw driver who knows the offbeat sites and murals by artists from near Singapore and far Russia or New York.

#12. Manhattan, New York

Hudson Yards is located on Manhattan’s West Side and owns the title of “city within a city”. The Vessel is a public structure specifically built for the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. The elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings that visitors would be able to climb and was designed by the British designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The Shed is a multiarts center that will be opening in Hudson Yards. The Shed commissions original works of art, across all disciplines, and for all audiences. They bring together established and emerging artists in fields ranging from hip hop to classical music, painting to digital media, theater to literature, and sculpture to dance. The Bloomberg Building is an unprecedented movable structure that adapts to support ambition and invention in all creative fields. So no matter what your interests are, you’ll probably find something that will catch your eye!

#11. Hudson Valley, New York

Storm King Art Center is located in the Hudson Valley and occupies 500 pastoral acres. According to John Stern, president of the Art Center, “The 110-120 sculptures and installations change as the landscape evolves“. Visitors may hike, bike or ride trams to have better sightlines on the larger works by modern and contemporary artists such as Andy Glodsworthy and Maya Lin.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Since 1960, Storm King has been dedicated to stewarding the hills, meadows, and forests of this site and its surrounding landscape. Building on the visionary thinking of its founders, Storm King supports artists and some of their most ambitious works. Storm King Art Center has a weakness for nurturing a vibrant bond between art, nature, and people, and thus creating a place where discovery is limitless. So don’t miss it!

#10. Naoshima, Japan

Benesse Art Site Naoshima’s origin can be traced back to the overlapping vision of two men: Tetsuhiko Fukutake, the founding president of Fukutake Publishing, who aspired to create a place in the Seto Inland Sea where children from all over the world could gather; and Chikatsugu Miyake, then incumbent mayor of Naoshima, who dreamt of developing a cultural and educational area on the island.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Every place of this island presents contemporary art. The Benesse House hotel and museum offers sea views and art by Andy Wahol and Donald Judd, whereas the downhill Chichu Museum features skyscapes by James Turrell and five waterlily paintings by Monet. The architect Tadao Ando designed galleries in his signature geometry and located them semi-underground to preserve the landscape.

#9. Venice, Italy

Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale has been for over 120 years one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. The history of the “La Biennale di Venezia” dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre. In 1980 the first International Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999 Dance made its debut at La Biennale.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The 58th exposition of the Venice Biennale starts on May 11 up until November 24 of the current year. The Biennale welcomes all visitors and this year will feature events such as the Sun and Sea opera of Lithuania in a simulated beach and will feature installations such as Iceland’s paviolion filled with fluorsecent-colored fake hair.

#8. Chicago, Illinois

From March to December, the recently launched sound-and-light exposition in the Art on the Mart consists of two hours of digital imagery from Wednesday through Sunday nights in a 2.5 acre screen. The screen is set on the facade of the Merchandise Mart landmark building, athough the display is better seen from the Riverwalk.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

With its minimum thirty-year duration, its location in the heart of downtown Chicago along the Chicago River, and its substantive and relevant content, Art on theMART is considered as the next iconic milestone on Chicago’s visionary trajectory of public art. It is also a singular media platform and a major philanthropic gift to the City of Chicago: local and international works are on display and freely accessible as public art with no branding nor sponsorships

#7. Loire Valley, France

In France, the grounds of the Loire Valley chateau Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire are the incredible settings for commissioned works by international artists that have a perfect match with “the spirit of the domain”. The chateau and their surrounding gardens are cultural monuments which stunningly embody the ideals of the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Patrick Blanc’s “Spirale Végétale” is a giant leaf structure rolled inward that forms a secret cave, and El Anatsui designed a hill made of logs and sparkling scrap, also set on the chateau’s grounds. Visitors can also take a trip to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours which features one of France’s most extensive collections of art, including artists such as RubensMonet, and more.

#6. Paris, France

L’Atelier des Lumières is a vast 19th century froundry house located in the old heart of Paris and which is now a portal to an immersirve digital art experience. Presenting original soundtracks and towering projections, the house shows the works of Klimt, Van Gogh and Hokusai in a swirling and mesmerizing spectacle. The Atelier uses 140 video projectors and a spatialised sound system. The highly unique multimedia equipment covers a total surface area of 3,300 m², extending from the floors to the ceilings and over walls up to 10 m high. So imagine how long it can take you to see it all!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

From February 22 to December 31, the L’Atelier des Lumières will feature a Van Gogh themed event. The digital exhibition will project numerous masterpieces onto the walls in a themed itinerary retracing important stages in the life of this artist who transformed the art of painting. The exhibition explores van Gogh’s numerous works, which radically evolved over the years, from The Potato Eaters (1885), Sunflowers (1888) and Starry Night (1889) to Bedroom at Arles (1889).

#5. Vardo, Norway

The Steilneset Memorial was constructed to recall the 17th century execution of 91 women and men that have been accused of witchcraft in the homonymous small village on one of Norway’s 18 Scenic Routes. The Memorial comprises two separate buildings: a wooden structure framing a fabric cocoon that contains Zumthor’s installation; and a square smoked glass room. The smoked glass room holds the last commission of sculptor Louise Buourgeois, that consist in mirrors that reflect a steel chair in flames.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Zumthor’s structure is made from wooden frames, fabricated off-site and assembled to create sixty bays in a long line within which, suspended by cable-stays, is a coated fibreglass membrane that tapers at each end.Inside is a timber walkway, 100 meter long but just 1,5 meter wide, and along the narrow corridor are 91 randomly placed small windows representing those executed, each one accompanied by an explanatory text based on original sources.

#4. Potomac, Maryland

Glenstone Museum in Maryland is one of the largest private museums in the world, and it features one of Jeff Koons’s biggest sculptures: an 11 meters flower-decked rocking horse that oversees a hill. An aquatic garden surrounds each gallery and the surreal Rober Gober room. As you can see in the image below, the garden features sinks that are mounted to painted forests walls.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In the woods outside the Museum, visitors can sit on stumps, while being enveloped in a sphere of sound. The name “Glenstone” derives from two local sources: Glen Road, where the property line begins, and a type of carderock stone indigenous to the area, which is still extracted from several nearby quarries. The founders hope that Glenstone will always be a destination for those who seek meaningful encounters with art, architecture, and nature—for many years to come.

#3. Los Angeles, California

Located on the Pacific Rim, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 140,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. Committed to showcasing a multitude of art histories, LACMA exhibits and interprets works of art from new and unexpected points of view that are informed by the region’s rich cultural heritage and diverse population.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

One of the most impressive pieces of art in the Museum is a work by earth artist Michael Heizer. In 2012, his team deposited a 340 tonnes piece of granite, the “Levitated Mass”, which sits atop a 138 meters underbridge for visitors. So if you ever pay a visit to this Museum, checking out Heizer’s work is a must.

#2. Alys Beach, Florida

In Alys Beach, Florida, each of the white houses become screens for videos, animations and sound-motion-light shows during the Digital Graffiti Festival that will be opening from May 17 to May 18, 2019. Sometimes referred to as “Photon Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or “Urban Projection,” underground artists around the globe have been using the latest design, animation, and projection technologies for many years to cast dynamic images onto skyscrapers and other urban structures as a means of artistic expression.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The Digital Graffiti Festival is a convergence of international artists, filmmakers, musicians and technology fans in the quiet Florida beach town. Cocktail and street parties are also hosted for all invitees. Thousands of dollars in cash prizes are awarded to artists, with digital submissions being received from as far away as Israel, Austria, Canada, Germany, London, India, France, Italy and China. But don’t miss the first art desination of our list!

#1. Tasmania, Australia

In the Museum of Old and New Art, the eccentric collector David Walsh presents mind-bending works. In one of the Museum’s new wings, the Pharos wing, visitors can explore immersive light experiences created by artist James Turrell. In “Unseen Seen”, two visitors at a time sign waivers, climb into a large egg-like structure and recline in kinetic color, while in “Event Horizon” viewers can stand in a cube-space where morphing light obliterates orientation. It’s a truly unique experience!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

According to David Walsh:

“We believe things like art history and the individual artist’s intention are interesting and important—but only alongside other voices and approaches that remind us that art, after all, is made and consumed by real, complex people—whose motives mostly are obscure, even to themselves.”

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    Luke H.

    Certified Translator recently graduated at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
    Gamer. Bookworm.

    What we do in life echoes in eternity.

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