Saint Louis Art Museum
Featuring some of the best pieces by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Rothko, and (my main man) Gerard Richter, the East Building of the Saint Louis Art Museum is one you should not miss out on if you visit St. Louis. Recently remodeled in 2013, the East Building is my favorite place to go in St. Louis and that is saying something. The free museum (are you paying attention, MoMA?) sits inside Forest Park alongside Art Hill, and every time I park and walk along the grass, I’m struck by how very European Art Hill feels. Definitely one of my favorite art museums; I always know I am home when I am there. Saint Louis Art Museum is open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm; Friday 10am-9pm. slam.org
Art Institute of Chicago
Voted the #1 Art Museum in the world by TripAdvisor, it would have been stupid of me not to include the Art Institute in my list. I was excited to visit again awhile ago when staying with my brother and his girlfriend. The building itself is just so immensely impressive with the beautiful architecture and the green lions staring down visitors as they enter. Besides being impressed with seeing Renoir, Richter (!), Van Gogh, Paris Street; Rainy Day, Hopper’s Nighthawks, and Picasso’s blue period, the interior design of the building always leaves me speechless. Unfortunately, the museum is only free to Illinois residents on Thursday nights, otherwise general admission is $17 with a student ID or $23 for an adult ticket. Open daily from 10:30am-5pm; Thursdays until 8pm. artic.edu
When I lived in London, nearly every weekend between going to The Breakfast Club and walking along Southbank, I would walk inside the Tate Modern and spend hours in there on a Saturday afternoon. The building has some of the best views of Southbank and St. Paul’s Cathedral and the art work inside is bloody ridiculous. (Did you like my British slang?) Everywhere you turned, there was Picasso, Warhol, Dali, Rothko, Richter, Duchamp, Hockney, and the always weird and wonderful Tracey Emin. Amongst well known artists, there were some seriously strange modern art that I liked to nod my head at and act like a pretentious snob about l’art. There is an Alexander McQueen exhibition at the moment, which I hear is fantastic. The museum is free and open Sun-Thur from 10am-6pm and Fri-Sun from 10am-10pm. I recommend walking along Southbank and taking the back entrance, however, the front is just as magnificent. tate.org.uk
I went here for the first time this past March, and I must say, it was love at first sight. Two things that I was most excited about seeing: Starry Night by Van Gogh and Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein. Starry Night was surrounded by tourists desperately wanting to take their photo by it, so it was difficult to see the beauty of the work, but it was something that I am so glad I got to see in real life. For some reason, no one was really around Drowning Girl which happens to be my favorite Lichtenstein piece. (Can you tell how much I love contemporary art?) The museum, similar to the Art Institute, is not free. If you have a student ID, the ticket is $14 or you will be paying $25 for an adult ticket. However, if you can get there between 4pm-8pm on Friday night, entrance is free! Open daily from 10:30am-5:30pm; Fridays from 10:30am-8pm. moma.org
I’m pretty sure I cried the first time I walked into the Musée d’Orsay at eighteen. What can I say? I am a sentimental bastard and it was my first time in Paris, sue me. Housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a train station built between 1898 and 1900, the Musée d’Orsay is one of the most interesting and beautiful museums that I have ever been to. As you walk over the bridge along the Seine, you can see the museum with the tip of the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) in the distance, and smell the kabab stands along the entrance. Inside, you’ll see Starry Night Over the Rhône by Van Gogh (which I sneakily took a photo of!) and walls of Claude Monet’s waterlilies. Admission for students with a valid ID is €8.50 or €11 for adults. If you’re under 18, entrance is free. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9:30am-6pm and Thursdays from 9:30am-9:45pm. musee-orsay.fr
You’re not supposed to take photos inside, but oops!
Contemporary Art Museum STL: Beautiful, beautiful. CAM always has really cool events and exhibits going on. For more information, visit their website.
Louvre: Okay, so the reason I didn’t include the Louvre is because I think the only thing to really see at this museum is the architecture, not the artwork. (I can already hear a cry of outrage from art historians everywhere!) It is a wonderful museum that you can spend hours getting lost in. Trust me, I know from experience. I couldn’t find the entrance for two hours. For more information, visit their website.
The Courtauld Gallery: Located in the gorgeous Somerset House in London, Courtauld Gallery is an exceptional gallery. It is quite small, but has such an immense collection of well-known Impressionist work. If you’re ever in London, I could not recommend this more. For more information, visit their website.
Tate Britain: Another gorgeous gallery along Southbank, but on the north side. Full of Hockney paintings and rather interesting installations. For more information, visit their website.