We asked Museum of Design Atlanta’s Executive Director Laura Flusche for her five favorite museums across the globe. Add these to your travel bucket list!
Perez Art Museum, Miami
What other museum offers a gorgeous bay view from a lovely terrace that’s great for sipping a beverage and relaxing? Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron thought outside the sterile box that’s typical of American museums when they designed the Perez Art Museum. The exhibitions — which highlight Miami’s location at the crossroads of the Americas —provide viewers with new views on modern and contemporary art by emphasizing the cultural diversity that characterizes Miami. My perspective always shifts a bit when I visit and I like to spend time processing new ideas and chilling on the terrace after a trip through the galleries.
Galleria Borghese, Rome
The city of Rome is filled with jaw-dropping special effects — most dating to the Baroque era, a time when artists were charged with making the invisible visible. My favorite place to take in Rome’s special effects is the Galleria Borghese, a garden palace built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century. Caravaggio paintings abound if you feel like going over to the dark side, but my favorite artwork at the Galleria Borghese is Apollo and Daphne sculpture by Gianlorenzo Bernini. Bernini accomplishes something amazing with that sculpture: he manages to convince the viewer that they’re seeing a nymph’s body transforming into a tree right before their eyes. And he does so in the least changeable of materials — marble.
MoMA’s Design Collection and Exhibitions, New York City
When in NYC, I love to visit MoMA’s design exhibitions to see what kind of discussion they are provoking. Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture & design at MoMA, is loathe to define design, but says that it’s much more than Eames Chairs and Braun toasters. The title of a recent exhibition she curated gets the point across: This is for Everyone: Design for the Common Good. Antonelli’s broad understanding of design is helping her break new ground: she recently put up an exhibition about video games like Minecraft and Tetris and acquired the @ symbol for MoMA’s permanent collection. In any number of compelling ways, she’s testing the limits of a traditional museum and asking what role these institutions should play in the 21st century. It’s a conversation we have at MODA as well.
Capitoline Museums, Rome
I was trained as a Roman archaeologist and spent 15 years living in Rome. The Capitoline Museums are my go-to place when I need a hit of antiquity (though the Carlos Museum at Emory will serve in pinch!). Installed in buildings designed by Michaelangelo, the Museums are loaded with iconic antiquities that remind visitors that history is long and our place in the world is short. In just an hour or two, you can admire the ruins of a temple first built about 500 BC, gaze upon bronze and marble sculptures from half a millennium later, and take a stroll in ancient Rome’s Tabularium, the ancient city’s records office, while admiring a gorgeous view of the Roman Forum.
The Kimbell Art Museum & the Modern Art Museum, Ft. Worth, TX
The Kimbell astounds me with every visit. The original building by Louis Kahn is almost perfect, and the new Renzo Piano addition is gorgeous as well. They’re buildings that make you take a deep breath and relax. As if that weren’t enough, the permanent collection at the Kimbell is gorgeous. I’m intrigued by their relatively new acquisition of a painting said to be by the young Michelangelo, while other works in the collection fill my need for Renaissance and Baroque splendor. When I’m there, I can never resist a quick hop next door to the Modern Art Museum designed by Tadeo Ando. Wow. Just wow.