Whether you are traveling – or enjoying your favorite armchair – we’re sending you around the world with a round-up of beautiful art installations, major exhibitions, new museums and World Heritage sites. Some will last for a few months, others will exist in your memory long after. If you cannot go, there are online versions of the exhibitions and sites, catalogues, and documentary films to bring the world of art-architecture-design to you.
Tate Modern’s new building in London opens June 17: From the terrace atop this new 10-story building, designed by Herzog & De Meuron, you’ll see the panorama of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Thames, and London skyline. It’s built atop The Tanks, once the fuel reservoir for the London power station – now the Tate Modern –originally designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1950s. The Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – a powerful space for installations – will still be a draw. The adjacent new building, whose height mirrors the chimney of the Tate Modern, adds 60% more space for people to explore and have a more direct experience in live art and installations. Director Nicholas Serota says, “art changes, so do we.”
Heronymous Bosch takes a bow on his 500th anniversary – with June 16, 18-19 water-borne parades in his native Dutch town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands).
You won’t believe exotic array of floats and strange costumed celebrants from theater, dance, art and music fields who reprise some of the images and themes from Bosch’s medieval paintings that evoke hell-on-Earth, or just plain hell. The Bosch Parade first sets sail June 16th. Don’t miss it. Check out the videos that are on their Facebook page
The art studios that gave birth to the Whitney Museum of American Art – several abutting townhouses and carriage houses in New York City’s West Village – will be open starting June 3 for a free, 45-minute tour. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was a sculptor and the powerhouse behind founding of the Whitney Museum. The New York Studio School, as it is known, has trained artists for 100 years. is located at 8 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011, between 5th and 6th avenues near Washington Square Park. New York Times story Sign up for a free, 45-minute tour
If you love Alexander Calder mobiles, stabiles and hanging pieces, then head to San Francisco for the just-opened addition to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Motion Lab Gallery features nearly a dozen of Calder’s pieces through September 10.
The Norwegian firm Snohetta designed the $305 million 10-story addition. The reopened SFMoMA features 19 inaugural exhibitions in its spaces – betcha can’t see them all in one visit! The New York Times story notes, “Mainly, [the addition]reminds us that the horizontal and vertical grids of the city can be disrupted without being destroyed.”
The Garage (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Moscow’s Gorky Park opened in 2015 after a groundbreaking preservation project headed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA to transform the famous Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) Soviet Modernist restaurant built in Gorky Park n 1968, into a contemporary museum. It’s the first permanent home for the museum since its 2008 founding by Dasha Zhukova. Originally housed in the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage in Moscow, designed by Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov, the Garage relocated to Gorky Park, to a temporary pavilion by award-winning architect Shigeru Ban. The preservation is laudable: the original Soviet-era elements are preserved: mosaic wall, tiles and brick, while incorporating a range of innovative architectural and curatorial spaces. If you’re in Moscow, take advantage of the Garage’s free weekly walking tours of city architecture.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a mere youngster – just a year old –on the Paris museum scene, but a powerful presence, with a Frank Gehry-designed building that seems to sail through the Bois du Boulogne. This summer, the museum is transformed by Daniel Buren, a French conceptual artist, with The Observatory of Light (L’Observatoire de la lumière) which he calls a work in progress. The piece features 3600 pieces of glass that form 12 sails inside the glass structure, covered with colored filters – there are 13 selected colors. The forms appear and disappear, changing with time of day and season. (The installation will be up through the end of 2016.)
Special performances June 2-4 are in tents on the lawn of the museum, featuring BurenCirque, the artist’s take on the circus. In a recent New York Times story, Buren says, “The colors go anywhere the sun hits,” Mr. Buren said, “so as it moves throughout the day, they might end up on the reflecting pool outside at one moment, or on the grass. It travels.”
Bicycling through Amsterdam? Or just walking, you can see an exceptional display of ceramic tiles in the Cuyperspassage at Amsterdam’s Central Station. Some 80,000 Delft tiles are installed along the walls and floor – a project by Benthem Crouwel Architects. The tunnel at 110 meters in length connects the city with the Ij River – a passage used by 15,000 commuters every day.
Dutch designer Irma Boom created a tableau based on a work by Cornelis Boumeester – famed Dutch tile painter – that depicts the Dutch warship Rotterdam and the herring fleet. Boom added crashing waves, small and large boats and soaring gulls to the scene. (Originals of Boumeester’s works are in the Rijksmuseum.) Follow the tunnel and you’ll see how the pedestrian side and bike side are neatly divided – with the pedestrian path elevated above the bike lane. Dutch ceramics company Koninklijk Tichelaar Makkum — the oldest company in the Netherlands, founded 1572 — made the 46,000 wall tiles plus 33,000 for the floor. And there’s a sound-muffling surface for the generously sized bike lane. Go experience it for yourself.
Pont d’Arc Cavern in the Ardèche France: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams (see the trailer) brought documentary film-goers in 2012 face to face with the array of bison, mammoths, lions, rhinos, horses and other creatures painted on the walls 35,000 years ago by our ancestors. There’s even handprints and spots of red that may represent blood. Happily, the beautiful Chauvet Cave — a World Heritage site–discovered in 1994 by three young boys, is now sealed from any further damage, unlike the famed, but now deteriorated Lascaux cave paintings in southwestern France, that succumbed to respiration and fungal damage from public visitation (Lascaux’s paintings are only half as old).
Opened in April 2015, the Pont d’Arc Cavern awaits your visit! You can now experience Chauvet in a spectacular recreation called the Cavern, a massive building (football field in length). No expense was spared – this was a $59-million effort — to replicate the authentic interior environment of the Chauvet Cave, stalagmites and all, with some 400 reproductions (all hand-painted by master 21st century artisans) of the original painted animals in glorious forms and colors.
This is not Disney – the work here is meticulous, enhanced by the 3D technologies that made it possible to film and recreate the settings. Read how they did it in the New York Times and check out the National Public Radio blog
Barcelona’s Antonio Gaudí left an indelible presence on this Catalan city and in the development of Art Nouveau. His first house commission – Casa Vicens – in 1930, now a World Heritage Site, is being transformed into a museum that should be open in the second half of 2016. If you are traveling, don’t miss out on this spectacular building. Gaudí aficionados say that his unfinished masterpiece Sagrada Família cathedral is schedule to be completed in 2026 – just a decade from now. Executive manager Mercedes Mora says of the Casa project, “…[W]e must stress the fact that one needs to visit Casa Vicens in order to understand the origins and development of Gaudí’s architecture.”
The Venice Architecture Biennale (through November 27 2016) has added an exhibition-homage to Iranian-born British architect Zaha Hadid, who died unexpectedly in March while working in Miami. The 10-room exhibition will feature a retrospective of her completed and under-construction buildings, as well as those that were unrealized. Among the milestones featured, notes Dezeen:”… her first completed project, the Vitra Fire Station (1993); the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (2003) which contributed to her being awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize; and the MAXXI Museum (2009), where the studio put into practice its experiments with computer-aided design.”
The retrospective is sponsored by the glassmaking group Fondazione Berengo at the 16th-century Palazzo Franchetti on the Grand Canal. New York Times obituary
Beauty: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial through August 17: It’s the fifth in the series of contemporary design exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt in New York City. “Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses.” It’s a major undertaking by Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton (author/senior curator of contemporary design), representing 63 designers and teams from around the world with 250 pieces, under themes such as extravagant, ethereal, emergent, and transformative. Look like CH has got game: it’s described as “an immersive, multisensory experience” that will take you from prototypes to interactives to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions. See the exhibition online Exhibition review New York Times Follow on Twitter at #DesignTriennial
September 2016 is the golden month for the long awaited Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture, a 400,000 square foot museum on Washington DC’s National Mall. Ghanaian-born architect David Adjaye, now based in London, was tapped to design the museum. Importantly, it will house the material culture and the less tangible – oral traditions, songs, music, memories – of African Americans from earliest slave-trading days, to free people of color, and today’s hubs, cities and neighborhoods. There’s a lot of fussing over the design, and if you set aside time to come visit, you’ll probably be dazzled by the façade of canted aluminum panels with a bronze finish. Washington Post story
Love folk art? The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman is on view through August 21 at the New-York Historical Society – and it’s a stunner. This is a quintessential American story: Polish-born sculptor Nadelman arrives on the Lusitania sponsored by Helena Rubenstein (of cosmetics fame), marries an heiress who shares his passion for folk art, and together they amass a collection of some 15,000 pieces from around the globe. They start the first folk art museum in the US on their estate — then 1929 occurs.
The Historical Society bought the Nadelmans’ collection in 1937 – and this is the first major exhibition. It’s called a “feast of art,” and you should run to see why. (The catalogue is a stunner too!) Read the review And check out the exhibition web site.
Hangzhou, a city on China’s eastern coast, features a new Folk Art Museum (2015) that stands in a former tea plantation on the China Academy of Arts campus. Kengo Kuma’s studio designed a 5,000 square meter museum in small units that appear to be small houses, each with a pitched roof, that gradually rises to a forested summit. The tiling for the roof – and for additional screening devices – all comes from discarded housing tiles – a sustainable and beautiful solution – that helps the museum fit into its area.
Just hold it! An 18-karat-gold toilet is supposed to be added to the opening of Maurizio Cattelan: America at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. However, there’s an installation problem (won’t flush?) and there’s no firm date announced for the opening of the show. Stay tuned
More museums, more art, more summer adventures await in the months ahead!