Visiting a gallery has been always a productive and stimulating way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But if wandering through hallways of carefully curated objects of beauty is really your thing, then there are some galleries you need to see at least once in your life. If you were looking for yet another reason to pursue that dream of , check out these six amazing galleries from around the world.
1. Musee D’Orsay, Paris
While the Musee D’Orsay in Paris is a predictable choice for number one on this list, it simply belongs here in the first place. Everything about this Parisian treasure, from its grand architecture to the way the filtered sunlight plays off its exquisite luminous marble statuary, is something you need to see with your own eyes.
Here’s the best way to describe the Musee D’Orsay. You’ll remember something from your experience there, years later, while sipping your morning coffee — for no good reason.
And for just a moment, it’ll be as though you were back there, and you’ll feel a shiver of happiness that a place like that exists.
2. The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The is hard to describe. If you love Van Gogh’s work, seeing so many of his pieces together in one place is a no-brainer. It’s pure, distilled delight to see so many instantly recognizable pieces alongside some of his more obscure and early work. Strangely though, while it’s awe-inspiring to see, many visitors will be left with an oddly intimate sensation — of having seen something intensely private. Thanks in large part to this gallery’s masterful curation, the Van Gogh gallery is the bitter-sweet story of Van Gogh’s life. You may find you leave the gallery wrung out, equal parts happy and sad to understand a little more about the tortured man behind those magnificent paintings.
3. Fashion and Textile Museum, London
For something a bit more quirky but no less memorable in its odd way, check out the Fashion and Textile Museum in London. Tucked away far from the tourist throng, the Fashion and Textile Museum small but discerning galleries are a tribute to the history of fashion and design. Bright, colorful and quirky, this gallery lets you get up close and personal with the colorful, garish and eccentric history of fabric and fashion. You may even get a private tour!
4. Georgia O’Keeffe Gallery, New Mexico
While there is a ton of amazing galleries speckling the US, a less obvious and more out of the way place to check out is the Georgia O’Keeffe Gallery in New Mexico. This gallery provides unique insight into how much a person can change. Beginning your journey with O’Keeffe’s early and earnest realist paintings, you get to walk step by step through her journey not just as a painter but as a person.
You get to see her sudden and violent transition to abstract and experimental forms. You get to experience her growing love of New Mexico and how the landscape changed her expression over time. You may also gain a subtle taste of what tortured her as she came to terms with life’s trials and disappointments. The art is wonderful, but taken as a whole, the gallery offers a fascinating glimpse into how an eccentric and uncompromising woman changed through the course of her long and eventful life.
5. The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The in Canberra is another gallery concealing a grand narrative of death and rebirth, but this time not of any individual artist, but rather of a nation.
This gallery captures the essence of how landscape changes and contorts within the eye of the beholder.
Walking through its landscape gallery, you get to see how indigenous artists saw and see the land, and how starkly that differs from the early European settlers, still struggling to understand the alien Australian landscape around them in old-world, European terms. This gallery challenges you to understand a little more about how our world is interpreted, and how vastly those interpretations can change and feed off one another over time.
6. Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea
If you live in North America, chances are you’re familiar with Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas but less familiar with the vast remainder of unique islands speckled haphazardly across the Pacific Ocean. Taken as a whole though, Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia offer an incredibly diverse spectrum of cultures, histories and art forms.
Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia provides an opportunity to walk through the entire diverse art history of the Pacific. From the warlike sculpture of warring Melanesian tribes to the whimsical abstractions of ocean yearning Polynesian artists, it’s a feast of beautiful strangeness to non-Pacific Islander eyes.
Situated by a secluded beach and surrounded by palm trees and forest, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is an art form in itself. Constructed to blend in with the natural environment, the building resembles a stand of palm trees jutting out from the forest surrounding it. It’s a beautiful and unusual place to visit, and well worth the effort if you ever happen to find yourself exploring the South Pacific islands.
Galleries bring together the finest and most beautiful things our eccentric species has found a way to create. Of course, these places offer a unique and serene way to experience the richness of human culture. But infinitely better than that, they provide a way to gain some small inkling into what inspired another fallible, hope-filled human to create something beautiful, unique and, ultimately, truthful.