Unexpected art galleries and museums worth seeing

In this month’s Shondaland series, art nowwe explore the spectrum of artworks, creators and galleries that capture our attention (and our hearts) in today’s diverse landscape.


Seeing art in person can be a magical and eye-opening experience. Whether it’s an iconic work by an old master or an emotional newbie, standing in front of their actual artistic works is strikingly different than seeing a reproduction in books or online. And certainly, with institutions like the wide in Los Angeles, MoMA in New Yorkand Orsay Museum in Paris, there are many global opportunities to explore the world of art.

But what if your curiosity pushes you in another direction? Sometimes it pays to look beyond the creators of institutional titles to find a repository of new ideas in a new place. That’s why we’ve created a list of galleries and museums that will broaden your view of art. From studies in unique form to unexpected places, here’s where you need to visit next to see great works of art.


Seattle NFT Museum, Seattle, Washington

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Whether you love non-fungible tokens, hate them, or are still trying to understand what they areSeattle recently opened NFT Museum is an important part of the discussion surrounding the niche art form. Expect larger-than-life video art and exhibitions that explore the meaning of the art form, including collaborations with AI, work with climate nonprofits and monitoring the evolution of artists from physical work to digital work. After enjoying the show, stop by the gift shop and enjoy the irony that all his merch is physical.

59 Rivoli, Paris, France

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In the original bohemian spirit of the city, 59 Rivoli, located a stone’s throw from the Louvre, is a collective that has transformed a disused bank into a colorful all-purpose art gallery. (As if it weren’t obvious on the outside, who featured everything from balloons and streamers to a face carved into the facade.) Six days a week, visitors are invited to stop by the 30 workshops of artists to witness the next generation of iconic artists working in real time.

Okuno Building, Tokyo, Japan

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Tokyo’s Okuno building is another case of an artist takeover – this time transforming a turn-of-the-century modern apartment building into a series of mini art galleries. The building alone is worth seeing, with details such as modernist elevator floor indicators and manually operated elevator doors still intact. However, art and architecture lovers should also stop by Room 306, an old saloon from the 1930s from which the saloon owner witnessed massive changes throughout Japan’s history (war, Tokyo bombing, Japan’s economic rise, etc.). Although the woman’s belongings were removed after her death, the room, while also being used as a nonprofit workspace, continues to decay, remaining intact as an experimental art project that seeks “to not intervening in the course of time, but rather looking back – and forward – from a common (always changing) point of reference.

The Welling Court Mural Project, Queens, New York

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Who says art museums have to be indoors? The Welling Court Mural Project is an open-air gallery that is worth the detour. While it was originally launched in 2009 by Jonathan and Georgina Ellis with the aim of sprucing up their neighborhood in Queens, 11 years later it has grown into a colorful hotspot showcasing a who’s who of street art icons, a list that grows with the refreshment of the walls. an annual basis.

Neon Muzeum, Warsaw, Poland

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Located in Soho Factory, Warsaw neon museum is located in a collection of offices and creative quarters located in the Praga district of the city and features, as the name suggests, neon signs. More than just an eye-catching collection likely to excite any fan of topography, the collection is also a documentation of one of the few largely unregulated art forms of the Cold War era, one that – as evidenced a walk through the streets of the city – begins to revive again. Shiny elephants, mouth-watering drinks, even a mermaid (the symbol of Warsaw) make an appearance, all pointing to the power of people still able to dream of something bigger.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Manhattan, New York

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There are museums known for creating unique experiences, and then there are those dedicated to preserving unique artists. Since 1987 (then received official museum accreditation in 2016), the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art exclusively featured LGBTQIA+ artists. Its mission has been to preserve and honor the legacy of these artists, a history that has often been swept away or outright destroyed by politics, prejudice and the plague. Currently on view is Schreber is a woman, a “meditation on queer and trans history” art video by Spanish artist collective El Palomar. Upcoming exhibitions include “Indecencia”, which explores the work of queer artists from Latin America.

Cisternerne, Copenhagen, Denmark

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To access Copenhagen’s most interesting gallery, you’ll need to head under Frederiksberg Hill in Søndermarken Park. (Just look for the entrance to the triangle-shaped building.) Formerly a depot for 16 million liters of the city’s drinking water, Cistern now presents avant-garde exhibitions by artists who make the most of the damp, concrete-covered space. If you want to know more about the gallery, 50-minute guided tours are offered in English. Alternatively, visitors are invited to stroll through the twisted cavern, where artist Chiharu Shiota has transformed the space into a disorienting fantasy of cobwebs and twirling robes with his year-long exhibition, “Multiple Realities.” .

The Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois

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Located in Hyde Park, Chicago Renaissance Society – which dates back to 1913 – uses its impressive expanse of bare space to provide a blank canvas for experimental artists, an opportunity that names like Bruce Nauman, Joseph Kosuth and Jenny Holzer took advantage of when they debuted in Chicago. In December, local artist Max Guy will add his name to this list, debuting with a stunning show Wizard of Oz– inspired installation. The Renaissance Society also remains committed to extending the life of what is made (and often sold) in its space through a satellite gallery at the University of Chicago, where, as they said, they can “stimulate other scholarly and creative thinking in our publications and public programs.

Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

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Affectionately known as “the banana bunker”, the building that houses the Boros-Collection was many things: shelter for 3,000 Berliners from air raids by Allied forces, a tropical fruit shop and a techno dance club. Its current life as an art gallery – courtesy of advertising agency executive and avid art collector Karen and Christian Boros, respectively – began in 2008 and features an ever-growing collection of experimental and eye-catching works highlighted by its historical environment. Focusing largely on international works from the 1990s to the present day, the space featured works by Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean, Wolfgang Tillmans and Elmgreen & Dragset. Tours are offered only through private tours which must be booked in advance, so call early if you want to be listed.


Laura Studarus is a Los Angeles-based travel writer who has contributed to fast business, BBC trip, and Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter at @Laura_Studarus.

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