Modern Wonders | 5 Art Galleries Worth a Roadtrip

Renwick Gallery | Washington, D.C.

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After an extensive two-year renovation, Renwick Gallery has reopened its doors with an incredible new exhibit called WONDER. Located across from the White House, the historic gallery was originally opened in 1874 and was the first building in America constructed specifically to be an art gallery.

The sheer size and scope of the installations are enough to impress but more than that, the exhibit was built to not only draw visitors to the art but to pull them into the history of the building as well. Nicholas Bell, the museum’s curator, wanted to ensure that each of the nine interactive pieces were designed to specifically highlight and enhance the architectural features of the Renwick Gallery. “We wanted people to be very conscious that they are in a museum,” he said in an interview with Garden and Gun Magazine.

Find out the dates and more information for the WONDER exhibit here.

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Heidelberg Project | Detroit, MI

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In the past few years, the city of Detroit has been undergoing a resurgence, especially in the small but vibrant arts community. The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor community project that stands as one of the fixtures in the city’s burgeoning art scene. It was begun by Tyree Guyton in 1986 as a way to bring awareness to the poor conditions of the crumbling, crime-ridden neighborhood. Today, the outdoor projects features several blocks of brightly painted houses and odd, comical installations made from trash and recycled materials.

The space is a little disarming. It clearly and boldly displays the struggles of the city, the rampant poverty, and the difficulty of rebuilding a city in the midst of crime and decay. However, there’s no mistaking the communal spirit and defiant cheerfulness that the Heidelberg Project represents. Its clear to locals and visitors alike – this city has a community that loves it and is willing to build it up again.

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The Graffiti and Street Art Museum | Houston, T.X.

While this museum hasn’t opened yet, doors are expected to open midway through 2016. Houston based graffiti artist, Gonzo247, announced his plans to open a space late last year. In addition to housing pieces of art, the museum will serve as a venue for pop-ups, on-site lectures, and classes as well.

“We’ve finally gotten to the point where street-art is accepted but the full history of it still hasn’t been told,” Gonzo247 said, “We want to bring the world to Houston.” If you can’t wait for the museum to open, check out the documentary “Stick ‘Em Up!”, which looks at establishment and growth of the Houston street art scene through the eyes of its most prominent founders.

Museum of Bad Art | Boston, M.A.

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The Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA as its more commonly referred to, takes pride in its goal “to bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences”. During a visit, you can peruse their wide array of collections with everything from portraiture to landscapes (in which hills bear a remarkable resemblance to scoops of ice cream) to the more erotic (the “In the Nood” collection is particularly inspiring).

The museum was originally founded in 1993 and has since been recognized by TravelNerd as one of the Top 10 Weirdest Museums. Definitely worth a visit.

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de Young Museum | San Francisco, C.A.

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Located in the beautiful Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum is one of the most architecturally intriguing museums around. The museum features an incredible collection of Teotihuacan and Peruvian pottery, sub-Saharan tribal art, and thousands of American paintings and sculptures. However, one of the main draws of de Young has less to do with the art it houses and more with the building itself.

The museum features a large angular tower, called Harnon Tower, that was built with ball-bearing sliding plates to allow up to three feet of movement to withstand the area’s common earthquakes. Visitors can ride an elevator to the top floor of Harnon Tower and enjoy an incredible view of the surrounding gardens, San Francisco skyline, and the Bay. Make sure to get there early – the observation area closes one hour prior to the museum.

 

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