Much like any list of the great modern art artists, any listing of great modern art galleries also has to extend well beyond a handful of the big names; increasingly a gallery focused on this highly creative and innovative period in art history is the hallmark of any major international city. Below, five more of the world’s best art galleries for modernism and contemporary original artworks are covered below.
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
It has long been one of the most well known buildings in Paris, and like many modern art galleries it’s architecture breaks with the traditions of the city around it, combining brutalism, expressionism and post-modernism, it has a love/hate relationship with many locals. Home to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, this is Europe’s largest modern art gallery and has 60,000 exhibits covering a diverse range of modernist art movements and major artists across painting, design, photography, video art, architecture, and frequently changing large scale installations in the exhibition halls. Artists featured in the collection include Picasso, Kahlo, Matisse, Kandinsky, Metzinger, Warhol, Hockney, Chagall, Miró, Dali, and Richter.
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK), Amsterdam, Netherlands
Located close to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum and located in a modernist styled converted casino building, the Stedelijk brings some unique flair to the museum quarter of Amsterdam. It is well known for a diverse collection of 90,000 exhibits covering modern art from across the 19th and 20th century including Mondrian, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Picasso, Chagall, and Bacon, as well as design work and more contemporary artwork from talents like Damien Hirst and Marina Abramovic. Every major art movement since 1900 is represented including video, film, installations, photography, industrial and graphic design as well as painting and sculpture.
MOMAT: the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
The impacts of the modern art movement were felt far beyond Europe and North America, with the first school of western art arriving in Japan in 1876. Japanese artists embraced modernism, but there was a long period of adjustment and balancing of embracing these western ideas, without losing Japan’s own unique voice and vision. MOMAT’s art collection focuses on this 20th century period where Japanese artists experimented with western styles, and Nihonga work based on more traditional Japanese painting. The collection includes art prints, photographs, and video as well as paintings and sculptures, providing a chronological journey through Japan’s 20th century in modern art.
Serpentine Art Galleries, London, UK
Unusually, the Serpentine has no permanent collection, instead choosing to stage constantly changing exhibitions and events with a focus on both modernism and contemporary art. Half of the gallery is a converted tea pavilion in Hyde Park, with a second space in a converted gunpowder store a few minutes walk away across a bridge over the Serpentine River. Between them they have hosted exhibitions and installations by Man Ray, Basquiat, Warhol, Kapoor, Moore, Koons, Hirst, Abramovic, Parreno and Jake and Dinos Chapman. Every summer, the gallery invites an architect who has never created a building in England to design a temporary summer pavillion, which has seen an incredible diversity of work from contemporary artists, designers, and architects including Ai Weiwei, Bjarke Ingels, Peter Zumthor, Olafur Eliasson, Toyo Ito, and Zaha Hadid to name just a few.
Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, Mexico
Based in a strikingly futuristic, aluminium clad anvil-shaped building, the Museo Soumaya houses over 65,000 works of art privately owned by the billionairre Carlos Slim; the museum is named after his wife and is the largest in South America. Including a wider range of work than most modern art galleries, the Soumaya extends to work by great masters such as da Vinci as well as ancient Mesoamerican sculpture, Mexican art, and modern art masters including Matisse, Rivera, Van Gogh, Rodin, Dali, Murillo, and Monet.