Must-Visit Art Galleries Around the World
König Galerie, Berlin
This former catholic church in the fashionable area of Kreuzberg is eccentric gallerist Johann König’s most recent venture. After a three-year transformation by architect Arno Brandlhuber, this brutalist, bunker-like structure that imposes itself on the landscape, like a powerful sculpture in an open space, has been internally transformed into an innovative gallery space. Being a windowless building, the inside is discretely flooded with light from above by the slits in the walls and the skylights. This gallery’s architectural metamorphosis transpired without losing the rawness and character that makes the St. Agnes Church the iconic building it is; achieving the perfect balance between brute and beauty, much like a piece of art. Currently on show is the work of Katharina Grosse, an established artist whose focus is the dynamic interplay between viewing the world and being a part of it, and who coincidentally was also the first artist ever exhibited at the newly renovated St Agnes Church two years ago.
121, Alexandrinenstraße 118, 10969 Berlin, Germany
China Art Palace, Shanghai
This museum of modern Chinese art is located in China’s largest city, Shanghai, and has lovingly been dubbed The Crown of the East. The sixty-three-metre-high, bright red structure was built for the Chinese Expo in 2010, with both a strong focus on sustainability and energy conservation, as well as a meaningful and profound design by architect He Jingtang. Inspired by the Chinese ding vessel, which symbolises power and the union between heaven and earth, the China Art Palace represents unity and strength, and clearly showcases the unique charm of Chinese architecture. It is meticulously decorated with calligraphic characters, intricate engravings and is painted in seven different shades of red that blend perfectly to illustrate the concept ‘unity with difference’. With over fourteen thousand works of art spread across one hundred and sixty thousand square metres of space, visiting the museum is an entire day’s job. Most of the pieces here are part of various permanent collections, yet the museum also often hosts special exhibitions. Currently exhibited is the abstract expressionism work of Li Qingping, rich in themes and colour, spanning 20 years of her tumultuous life.
205 Shangnan Rd, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200126
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and built to perch on New York’s iconic Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park is the Guggenheim Museum, home to an ever-expanding collection of art. With the depth of thought that went into this architectural masterpiece, one might assume it is a piece of art itself. The design focused heavily on the way visitors were to feel when inside; the nature in Central Park is to afford relief from the hectic noise of the city, the spiral and circular shapes represent infinity and organic progress, and the terrazzo floors allow the space to be open and breathe. Drawing inspiration from the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia, visitors are elevated to the very top floor and then make their way down the spiral floors to view the Guggenheim’s atrium as the final work of art, defying the conventional gallery route, where visitors must walk back on themselves to exit. Committed to innovation and being at the forefront of 20th century art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York offers educational and cultural programs to complement the exhibitions. Currently on show are, amongst others, Maurizio Cattelan: America – inverting the history of readymade art – and Jackson Pollock: Exploring Alchemy, on view for the first time since 1969.
1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
This sculptural-looking, rust-coloured steel building in Victoria is home to one of Australia’s flagship contemporary art spaces. When it was built in 2002, architects Wood and Marsh were in fact commissioned to create exactly that: a giant sculpture in which to show art, and it has since then won many architectural awards and is also the first public space in an industrial warehouse area, providing an excellent example of how the arts can be a catalyst for positive change. As well as delivering a range of free lectures, screenings, performances and more, the ACCA continuously commissions and exhibits work by exciting new artists from around the world, currently showing ‘Greater Together’, a collection of work by eight artists who, in times of such global uncertainty, seek to encourage collaboration and a sense of community across societal divisions on a professional, social and artistic level.
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Melbourne, Australia
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro
Designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer at the tender age of 89, this art gallery is precariously perched on the edge of Rio de Janeiro, overlooking the Guanabara Bay. It is sixteen metres high, has a huge reflecting pool at its base and covers fifty metres in diameter with two-thousand square metres of space spread across four floors. A curved, red-carpeted access slope leads to the entrance of this five-and-a-half-ton modernist masterpiece that seemingly hovers over the ground like a UFO, flown back in time and landed on this corner of the world. The second floor is encircled by a futuristic glass balcony, which often hosts exhibitions and also allows visitors to take in the panoramic views of the ocean and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Mirante da Boa Viagem, s/nº – Boa Viagem, Niterói – RJ, 24210-390, Brazil
August 17th 2017