While doubledecker sightseeing buses full of tourists clog the downtown city streets of Philadelphia and Boston, historic Dover, Delaware, is remarkably quiet. The capital of The First State is only an hour from Philly and features many of the same important highlights: historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and no shortage of stories that reveal just how important the petite state really is in the nation’s founding. I recently was invited for a day trip to Dover with my husband. And even for a Friday in June, we practically had the city to ourselves!
The city of Montreal is rich in art, from world-class museums of fine art to the smallest architectural details. There are important artistic precedents, such as that Montreal is home to Canada’s first museum of contemporary art, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC). But one only has to walk the streets in order to enjoy art in Montreal. No entrance ticket, no admission fee is required. Green squares with statues, historic buildings with beautiful architecture, and seemingly plain walls turned into huge canvases covered in murals — this is only scratching the surface of art in Montreal. Yes, Montreal is a simply fantastic city for art lovers.
It isn’t just the visual arts that are so significant in Montreal. The performing arts are, too. Across the city, there are no short of performance halls, concert halls, theaters, and stages. Add to that festivals of all kinds, such as Montreal Jazz Festival and M for Montreal, that attract local and international talent around the year. I could go on forever. But, for brevity, let’s focus on the visual arts in this travel guide for art lovers in Montreal.
Montreal has had a special fondness for Alexander Calder since at least 1967 when he designed a massive metal sculpture called “Trois disques” (or “Man and His World”) for the city’s World Fair. Now through February 24, 2019, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is honoring the artist with Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor, a retrospective that highlights Calder’s unique works and showcases that he is much more than the mobiles he’s perhaps best known for. This rare exhibition is an insightful and striking display of Calder’s talent.
The classics never go out of style. Just ask Paul McCartney’s accountant. And those classics come in all styles and forms. Take art, for example. Philadelphia lawyer and art collector John G. Johnson fell in love with the Old Masters and you can’t get much more classic than that. Johnson collected the Old Masters and then some. He acquired everything from Renaissance masterpieces to impressionist classics. And now through February, art lovers can visit a special exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art dedicated to the collection, which is celebrating its centennial. I recently got a peek at the splendid exhibition as part of the museum’s members preview.
As Philadelphia‘s Benjamin Franklin Parkway kicks off its 100th anniversary, the city is spending the next year celebrating. And right now Fireflies are pedaling up and down the boulevard that is home to so many fantastic museums: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Barnes Museum, Franklin Institute and more. That’s right — pedaling. Each Firefly is a pedicab covered in cheery Chinese-style lanterns. It’s all part of an art installation by artist Cai Guo-Qiang. And until October 8th, visitors can get involved by taking a free Fireflies ride!
New York City is full of world class museums with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, arguably, casting the largest shadow. But if you’ve ever walked along 5th Avenue, the eastern border of Central Park, you’ve likely passed the Frick Collection and maybe didn’t even know it.
From the street, the building looks pretty much like any other in the quiet neighborhood. Well maintained, it’s set back from the street a little, surrounded by a modest formal garden. But inside the building on the corner of 5th Avenue and 70th Street is a substantial art collection that includes works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Whistler among many others!
Just a stone’s throw from a battlefield from the Revolutionary War is a grist mill from 1864 beside the river. The renovated mill is home to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Inside this unassuming mill are treasures of American art. The museum serves as a perfect way to kick off a day in the Wilmington area before visiting the historic and luxurious HOTEL DU PONT for afternoon tea.
Currently, the museum is showing off an impressive retrospective on locally based and world renowned artist Andrew Wyeth. And that’s in addition to the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s remarkable collection.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer modern art, impressionism, or street art, there’s a lot on offer in Philadelphia for art lovers. Philadelphia has been the home and inspiration for countless artists such as Thomas Eakins, Alexander Calder (both Milne and Stirling), and Robert Crumb. The galleries and collections in the city are also incredibly impressive. This is both in terms of quantity and quality. If you only have a single day to see and experience the city and you love art, here is my art lovers travel guide to Philadelphia.
Last month the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted a lecture by Salvatore Settis where he detailed the findings of his most recent book, If Venice Dies. In the book, the art historian argues that the current policies surrounding Venice are killing this important historic city and that action is needed.
Many of today’s most dreamed of tourist destinations are facing an important turning point. Machu Picchu now has a daily limit in the number of visitors who can access the 15th-century Peruvian site. Similarly, Mount Everest is requiring climbers to return with a certain quota of garbage as the mountain isn’t being looked after. The difference between those sites and the historic city of Venice, Italy is that the first two examples are relatively remote and not easily accessible. There’s some extra effort involved. Venice, however, is a group of more than 100 islands that are just off the eastern coast of the country in the Adriatic Sea. There are no significant barriers to protect it.
There are certain landmarks that we take for granted. They’re simply there. But in reality they’re works of art. One of these landmarks is the instantly recognizable Christ the Redeemer (or Cristo Redentor in Portuguese) statue in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. With the Olympics in Rio fast approaching, this seemed like a great time to highlight this incredible landmark slash work of art on My Must See List.
The steps outside the east entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are as far as some visitors to the city ever get to the museum’s impressive collection. Ever since Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 run up those steps in Rocky, tourists flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They’re eager to retrace Rocky’s steps. They race up the steps, arms triumphantly raised. At the foot of the steps, along the street, visitors patiently form a line to get their photo taken with a statue of Rocky.
Last weekend, I ended up going through a box of old keepsakes, so to speak, that I have. It’s a box of all the goodies I
hoarded saved from our last trip to Germany. It’s a lot of fun going through the box and remembering everywhere we went, saw, and ate. It’s also good for comparison. I was going through the box looking for some information so I could use it to prepare for our upcoming trip. Can’t wait! Until then, my Reads of the Week….
- Eco-Cha has released a documentary video on Taiwanese oolong tea that was funded by crowd sourcing (including my own).
- Der Spiegel has published an interesting article on the state of Berlin’s museum scene, which they call “boring.”
- On a similar note, German politicians are making some changes that effect the country’s artists. Some of those artists are not responding well. Deutsche Welle is reporting that Georg Baselitz is removing his art from the country’s museums in protest.
- UNESCO has released a list of the newest World Heritage Sites!
- Swiss author Christian Kracht, a favorite of mine, has recently had the first of his books published in English. Imperium is out now.