Where to plan your next city break – and the art you should hunt out once you’re there
In new book Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, Phaidon editors confront readers with the question: ‘Why do we travel for art?’ Inspired by the success of 2017’s Destination Architecture, this new guide to the wonders of the art world divides the planet into seven regions: Australasia, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North America and South America. Featured artworks are grouped geographically, and the message championed throughout is one of exploration and enrichment.
As explained in the book’s somewhat poetic introduction, the origins of travel lie in pilgrimage and, from the 17th century onwards, the pursuit of aesthetic experience. Artists celebrated in the book include Marina Abramović, Alexander Calder, Antony Gormley, Jenny Holzer, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse and many more, but here are ten of our favourites.
1. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA (top)
Roy Lichtenstein, House lll, 1997 (fabricated 2002)
Pop Art icon Roy Lichtenstein designed House lll as an optical illusion. The sculpture was one of his last works and was inspired by the large-scale paintings of domestic interiors he produced during the 1990s. Lichtenstein was fascinated by perspective. At first glance, the aluminium structure appears strangely proportioned – the unmistakable form of a house is only visible from a certain angle.
2. Fondation Jean Dubuffet, Périgny-sur-Yerres, France (above)
Jean Dubuffet, Closerie and Villa Falbala, 1971-73
Covering an incredible 1,610 square metres in Périgny-sur-Yerres, Jean Dubuffet’s multifaceted, monumental installation evokes the isolation of a secluded escape. The Closerie – the outermost section of the work – commands a feeling of containment reminiscent of a walled garden, while the centre is the Villa Falbala, a structure that houses the Cabinet Logologique. In this room, visitors are confronted by graffiti-like work in red, blue and black.
3. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Pablo Picasso, Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe, 1962
Picasso’s Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe – which translates as “luncheon on the grass” – is a reinterpretation of Édouard Manet’s 1863 painting of the same name. In Manet’s original, only the men are clothed and the women are nude, while in Picasso’s sculptural installation both parties are in a state of complete undress. The light, sketchy style that is synonymous with the Spanish artist is contrasted by the weight and durability of the concrete effigies.
4. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
Leandro Erlich, Swimming Pool, 1999/2004
In Kanazawa, Japan, at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool challenges our skills of perception with a breathtaking optical illusion. Visitors looking into the pool might be surprised to see others walking beneath the surface of the water. In fact, the water is only four inches deep and held between two glass sheets. Erlich’s mind-bending pool sits alongside an engaging collection of site-specific installations at the museum.
5. James Turrell Museum, Province of Salta, Argentina
James Turrell, Unseen Blue, 2002
Argentina’s James Turrell Museum is the first dedicated to the artist and his groundbreaking work with light, house installations and sculpture, all of which spans five decades. Displayed throughout nine purpose-built rooms, the collection includes Unseen Blue, a large version of his enchanting skyspaces. Visitors, perched on white benches, are able to observe the sky’s shifting colours through a large aperture in the roof, with both natural and artificial light mingling to create a hypnotic spectacle.
6. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, UK
Barbara Hepworth, Two Forms (Divided Circle), 1969
Friend of Henry Moore and fellow Yorkshire native Barbara Hepworth split her lifetime between the north and south of England. Nestled among the beautiful streets of St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden forms part of the prolific artist’s former home and studio. The site is now a celebrated museum of her work and a must-visit destination for lovers of abstract sculpture.
7. Parque Garcia Sanabria, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Eduardo Paolozzi, Homage to Gaudi, 1973
Eduardo Paolozzi’s much-loved works boast a strong sense of self and an undeniable aesthetic presence. The artist’s work can be found across the globe, including the incredible mosaic pieces salvaged from the recently renovated Tottenham Court Road tube station, but his work in Santa Cruz is in fact an homage to Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi and his hexagonal tile design.
8. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Rodney Graham, Millennial Time Machine: A Landau Carriage Converted to a Mobile Camera Obscura, 2003
Artist Rodney Graham once described this piece of work as, “a kind of time machine in which the spectators, looking forward, may see backwards”. Just one part of Vancouver’s thriving art scene, Graham’s striking installation saw him transform a 19th-century carriage into a camera obscura. While sitting in the carriage, facing forward, viewers can see the camera’s upside-down image of a sequoia tree that stands behind them.
9. Parco Sculture del Chianti, Pievasciata, Italy
Federica Marangoni, Rainbow Crash, 2002
In elegant juxtaposition to its overgrown surroundings, Federica Marangoni’s Rainbow Crash sees the artist fuse coloured Murano glass and neon at Chianti Sculpture Park. Vibrant but strikingly broken, the rainbow crashes to the ground in the form of glass shards, an overt reference to the fragility of nature explored throughout the sprawling location.
10. Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, UK
Henry Moore, Reclining Woman: Elbow, 1981
Located only a few miles from the artist’s birthplace, Reclining Woman: Elbow sits atop an easily accessible plinth, guarding the entrance to Leeds Art Gallery and neighbouring the Henry Moore Institute. The provocative, lounging woman was installed by Moore himself in 1982 and forms part of a citywide art trail, as well as the impressive Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.
Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip is out now, published by Phaidon.