1. New York, N.Y.
- Antony Gormley’s life-size, nude figures are an unexpected addition to New York’s skyline. Credit: © Antony Gormley. A Hayward Gallery Commission. Courtesy of Sean Kelly Gallery, New York and White Cube, London. Presented by Madison Square Park Conservancy.
The Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps. A new nickname for New York City could be “The Artists’ Mecca.” Voted into the number one spot for the seventh straight year, New York continues to impress. Art is simply a part of the city’s culture, found everywhere from high-end galleries to the sides of buildings. AmericanStyle readers continue to flock to the nation’s art headquarters for its hundreds of museums, galleries, foundations and artist resources. “New York has so many contemporary art resources … The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art are just the beginning,” says reader Laurie Henrichsen of Avon Lake, Ohio.
Visitors to New York might notice an interesting new addition to the iconic Manhattan skyline this summer. British sculptor Antony Gormley, sponsored by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, is presenting his new public art installation, “Event Horizon,” until Aug. 15. The project depicts 31 life-size, nude figures of the artist cast in iron and fiberglass. Twenty-seven of the figures will be placed at elevated heights on landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the New York Life Building to manipulate the skyline.
2. Chicago, Ill.
- Chicago’s popular “Cloud Gate” sculpture is known to locals as “the Bean.” Credit: © City of Chicago/GRC
The Windy City has blown its way into the second spot once again this year. As the nation’s largest Midwestern city grows, so does its art scene. Wherever you go in Chi-Town, you are surrounded by public art. Take a walk in Millennium Park to see the famous “Cloud Gate” sculpture (aka “the Bean”) or Crown Fountain, featuring LED displays of Chicago residents spitting water from their mouths. Explore the city’s neighborhoods and check out the many murals by contemporary artists like native Jeff Zimmerman. Says reader Vicki Bennett of St. Petersburg, Fla., “Chicago … well, it’s Chicago, and even though it’s a nearly perfect city, it continues to get better.”
Running through October, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs presents Studio Chicago, a yearlong project focusing on artists’ studios. Through exhibitions, lectures, tours and publications, Studio Chicago will examine three important questions: “Why is the studio important to art and artists today? ,“ “What is the artist studio today?” and “What infrastructures are needed to support art practice and production?.” With the help of Columbia College Chicago, Gallery 400, Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Threewalls, this project will celebrate working artists and reveal their sites of creative production.
3. Washington, D.C.
- This rendering shows what the New York Avenue Sculpture Project will look like upon its completion in 2015. Credit: Jaroslaw Bieda
Coming in at number three for the third consecutive year, Washington, D.C., is not only our nation’s capital, but is vying to be the art capital as well. The numerous (and free!) Smithsonian art galleries and museums are only the first stop. Private studios and galleries representing all mediums make sure that no art lover is left out. “The art scene in Washington, D.C., needs no explanation … it abounds,” says reader Patty Moran of Alexandria, Va.
This city of monuments has a new addition among its ranks—in the form of a trio of women in colorful bathing suits. It is just the beginning of a changing installation of sculptures by women artists presented by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. On April 28, the New York Avenue Sculpture Project cut the ribbon on the first phase of the project, featuring the artwork of French sculptor, Niki de Saint Phalle. Her three 12- to 15-foot-high fiberglass sculptures, encrusted with mirrors, colored stones and mosaic glass, celebrate women, children, heroes, cultural diversity and love. When the project is finished in 2015, it will have transformed the four major medians on New York Avenue into sculpture islands dedicated to women.
4. San Francisco, Calif.
Coming in fourth for the third consecutive year, the City by the Bay represents the West Coast in our top five Big Cities category. Historic cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and the colorful streets of Chinatown make San Francisco a city for artists and art lovers alike. Even the government pitches in, with $15.4 million allocated to arts and cultural events in 2008-2009. “In San Francisco, art and culture are one and the same,” says reader Bryan Stroud from Columbus, Ohio. “There is no better city when it comes to encouraging and rewarding the creative process.”
One of the most well-known museums in the city is celebrating a big birthday—the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art turns 75 this year. To celebrate, the museum will be holding a special series of exhibits entitled “75 Years Looking Forward.” The exhibitions will tell the stories of the artists, collectors and community leaders who helped make the museum what it is today.
SFMoMA is well on its way to becoming bigger and better than ever in its 75th year. With contributions of more than $250 million, the museum has begun planning an expansion project to triple the size of its galleries and public spaces. A portion of the money will be used to create a showcase for the world-renowned Fisher Collection, a private collection of modern and contemporary art that has been gifted to the museum.
5. Boston, Mass.
- Boston’s new Harvard Art Museum will bring three museums to one central location. Credit: Harvard Art Museum
There is much more to Boston than its historical sites. With modern galleries, craft festivals, museums and the well-known Institute of Contemporary Art, Beantown is definitely in the 21st century. “From the idiosyncratic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to the Diablo Glass School, Boston has a spirit broad enough to preserve the antiquities of our founding fathers and foster the cutting-edge designs of today’s artists,” says reader Barbara Ganschow of Sparks, Nev. Some Boston hotspots include the Fort Point Arts Community, South End Open Market (open every Sunday through October) and the Museum of Fine Arts.
The Harvard Art Museum at Harvard University is undergoing a makeover—bringing their three separate museums (the Fogg, the Busch-Reisinger and the Arthur M. Sackler) to one central location. The goal of the project is to create a new platform for teaching the arts and offer larger exhibitions spaces for the general public to enjoy. The museum plans to open in 2013, but until then, visitors will be able to visit “Re-View” at the Sackler. The exhibit focuses on 600 works from all three art museums, featuring Western, Islamic and Asian art.
6. Philadelphia, Pa.
7. Albuquerque, N.M.
8. Seattle, Wash.
9. Atlanta, Ga.
10. Baltimore, Md.
11. Portland, Ore.
12. Los Angeles, Calif.
13. Columbus, Ohio
14. Austin, Texas
15. Denver, Colo.
16. San Diego, Calif.
17. Tucson, Ariz.
18. Nashville, Tenn.
19. Phoenix, Ariz.
20. Charlotte, N.C.
21. San Antonio, Texas
22. Milwaukee, Wis.
23. Las Vegas, Nev.
24. Dallas, Texas
25. Jacksonville, Fla.