15 stunning Art Galleries guaranteed to inspire!
The oldest paintings in the United States aren't hanging in a gallery. Six thousand year-old paintings on the walls of caves in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee showcase art by Native American artists with a deep spiritual and symbolic nature. Unfortunately, if you're not an archeologist the caves are off limits since after all these delicate artifacts are thousands of years old.
Don't be discouraged though, you can still see traditional works if you're only a layperson interested in the artwork of Native American cultures. If that's you, be sure to visit the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. The McClung Museum's Archeology and the Native People of Tennessee permanent exhibit show off both ancient artifacts and some more recent art depicting ancient American cultures.
If you want to see art from as many different places as possible, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art needs to be at the top of your list. The Met is already at the top of a lot of people's lists, it's the fourth most visited museum in the world and np. 1 most visited in the US. Hey, over six million annual visitors can't be wrong!
Philadelphia's Space 1026 is the place to go if you like your art contemporary and Avant-garde, but also fun and accessible. Space features challenging original pieces, but also fun events like a Star Wars themed open house with origami Yodas and DIY lightsabers.
To see what may be the future of art, head to The Compound Gallery & Studios, in Oakland, California. The Compound has separate buildings for 2D and 3D art, and features both digital work and 3D printed pieces. It also hosts the miniscule works of the Admiral Dot Miniature Gallery.
The Panopitcon Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest photography galleries in the country, and one of the best. Located in the upscale Hotel Commonwealth, The Panopticon offers extensive services for potential buyers as well as a great collection for casual fans.
If you prefer your subjects painted, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. is a no brainer. Featuring depictions of some of the greatest people in American history by some of the greatest artists in American history, the National Portrait Gallery is a key piece of our cultural heritage.
For more than half a century the Corning Museum of Glass has been the country's premier showcase of glasswork. The Museum of Glass's galleries include historic Ancient Roman and Islamic glassware, paperweights from around the world, and pieces made by the world's foremost artists. Demonstrations of glass making techniques are also available.
Who says that an art gallery has to be indoors? That's the question posed by the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, Colorado. The MOA has an extensive sculpture garden featuring both traditional and modern works. It might also have an indoor section where you can find some more delicate work too.
Galerie F in Chicago, Illinois describes itself as the first open door gallery space in the city, and seeks to contextualize their collection in their urban surroundings. Featuring printmaking by both international and local artists as well as other forms of street art, Galerie F offers a fresh take on several mediums, and offers some entry level prices for would-be collectors.
If you're looking for a truly one of a kind art gallery, you'll need to visit the Studios of Key West in Florida. There you will find some of the most unique photographs in the world, beautifully edited photographs that were initially displayed over 88 feet underwater aboard a sunken World War II transport ship.
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is home to The Mattress Factory, a massive former industrial space now devoted to cutting edge site specific installations. While the art itself is often very high concept, The Mattress Factory is deceptively kid friendly with many tactile and immersive exhibits that don't require an art history degree to appreciate.
The Museum of Bad Art in Needham, Massachusetts has a collection of pieces that few other museums would dare to display. No work in the MOBA was acquired for more than $40, and none of them are likely to be described as good. The goal is more to poke fun at the institution of art criticism than the works of amateur artists, although visitors can certainly enjoy some of the more out there pieces for simple reasons.
The Rhode Island School of Design's museum is called one of America's best small art museums by Departures travel magazine. The RISD museum is spread out across several buildings in the charming Providence neighborhood of College Hill, but the collection of historic and contemporary pieces will wow most visitors.
The Neon Museum of Las Vegas, Nevada would certainly qualify as a collection of commercial and pop art, and may not be the place for the strictest art critics to visit. But it does offer the chance to see classic pieces of Americana both in the daylight and during the warm desert evenings when the dozens of signs are lit up. Tours are only available by appointment.
Baltimore, Maryland's American Visionary Art Museum draws a distinct line between folk art and "visionary" art. The museum says that visionary artists don't play by anybody's rules and don't base their work in traditional methods from their culture. The result is a mixture of dark paintings and bright, vibrant robots and sculptures covered in mirrored tiles. The museum emphasizes accessibility for kids, but anybody can find something to appreciate here.
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