The modern art movement had a significant impact on the course of art history. Beginning with the onset of Impressionism and ending with the emergence of Pop Art, the period spanned nearly a century, culminating in countless important works, many of which are now preserved by modern art museums.
Here, we tour some of these institutions, from a metropolitan space in bustling New York City to a state-of-the-art site in Spain. Although located around the world, these cultural centers have one thing in common: the desire to keep alive the avant-garde attitude of the modern artistic movement.
Here are six of the best modern art museums in the world.
Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Located in midtown Manhattan, the modern Art Museumor MoMA, is one of New York’s most famous cultural institutions. Intended to “challenge the conservative policies of traditional museums”, the large museum was founded in 1929, when its collection consisted of only eight prints and one drawing.
Since then it has become one of the best-known museums of modern art in the world, with holdings currently comprising 200,000 works, from paintings, sculptures and drawings to photographs, films and even pieces of performance art. In addition to this world-class collection, MoMA prides itself on its inclusiveness, as it strives to be a site “where diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions are welcome.”
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco)
Across the country, another modern art museum has also played a pivotal role in the proliferation of 19th, 20th and 21st century art. In 1935 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Artor SFMOMA, open to the public to present its collection of several hundred works. Featuring artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, these initial collections inspired the quality of the collection the museum holds to this day.
One thing that possesses changed over the past 84 years, however, is the size of the museum. Since 1935, it has increased considerably, especially in recent years. Following a major expansion in 2013, the museum campus now covers 45,000 square feet of gallery, activity and outdoor space, making it the the largest museum of modern art in the country.
The Phillips Collection (Washington DC)
The SFMOMA may be the largest museum of modern art in the country, but it is not the oldest. This honor goes to Phillips collection, “America’s first museum of modern art.” Founded in 1921 by art collector Duncan Phillips, the Washington DC institution has gradually grown from special galleries in a family home to a tastefully expanded museum.
Although the size of the site and the collection itself have grown over the past century, the Phillips Collection has not lost its intimate atmosphere. Artworks – which include both Impressionist masterpieces like Boating Party Lunch by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and a growing number of contemporary pieces – are displayed both in Phillips’ former home and in a more modern extension, fulfilling the founder’s dream of an “intimate museum combined with an experimental station “.
The Tate Modern (London)
Washington DC isn’t the only capital with a world-class museum of modern art. Located on the banks of the River Thames in London, the Tate Modern serves as UK’s National Gallery of Modern Artcharacterized by its ever-growing collection of works from 1900 to the present day.
In addition to its collections, the museum is known for its architecture; until 2000, the steel and brick building that now houses the museum was a power plant. In rethinking the space, the architects Herzog & de Meuron chose to retain its industrial aspect, characterized by an imposing chimney and a large turbine hall. Combined with its works of art, this contemporary design makes the museum stand out from the rest.
Center Pompidou (Paris)
Another modern art museum with avant-garde architecture is the Centre Pompidou. Located in the center of Paris, this one-of-a-kind building features an “apparent” and color-coded facade. Designed by Renzo Piano, this design gives passers-by a glimpse of its inner workings.
Once inside the museum, visitors are entitled to The largest collection of modern art in Europe. In total, Pompidou’s permanent collection includes more than 100,000 works, from modernist paintings to current industrial perspectives. This varied collection “traces the highlights of the evolution of modernity, sheds light on its complexity, its genealogies, its exchanges and intersections, and the intermediaries who contributed to writing the history of art in the first half of the 20th century. . ”
The Guggenheim Bilbao (Bilbao)
A conversation about iconic modern art museums wouldn’t be complete without the Guggenheim Bilbao. Like the Pompidou, this institution is particularly famous for its cutting-edge design, which reinterprets the local landscape as an undulating flower-shaped building.
This Frank Gehry-designed glass, stone, and titanium structure features 20 galleries and over 120,000 square feet of space. In addition to exhibiting pieces from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, this space is used to accommodate temporary exhibitions, which the museum often tours. By sharing an ever-changing selection of works, the museum responds to the Guggenheim Foundation’s interest in “exploring[ing] ideas across cultures through dynamic curatorial and educational initiatives and collaborations.
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