Art Trekking: Top Contemporary Art Destinations Overseas

[This article was originally published on Huffington Post]

Rome has exquisite Renaissance artwork. Paris has the Musée d’Orsay. But where should art trekkers obsessed with street art, new contemporary art movements, and cool gallery scenes go when journeying overseas?

Here is a short list of a few cities overseas that are making waves with international art aficionados, or about to.

As with any list, there’s always room for more. I welcome readers’ tips and suggestions on edgy new art galleries, districts and movements throughout the globe.

Seoul National Museum Korea
Korean contemporary art got a boon internationally in 2009 and 2010 with exhibits from LA to London and beyond.

In the latter, the Saatchi Gallery’s “Korean Eye: Moon Generation” show was so popular that it went on the road, from Singapore to Seoul in late 2010. It featured fantastic work by Bae Joon Sung and Kim Hyunsoo.

If you plan on visiting Seoul, stop by the gallery-dotted neighborhood of Samchong-dong, and discover tomorrow’s popular new artists for yourself.


Banksy Street Art in London England

As gentrified as London’s East End may be to die-hard hipsters, it’s still a great place to check out some better known artists in galleries like White Cube andWhitechapel.

It’s also the playground of street artists. In the latter category, an art trek to London isn’t complete without a visit to the Lazarides Gallery in SoHo (as in Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s right hand man) and The Outsiders–another Laz production in Soho as well.


Colaba Arts District in Mumbai India

There has been some really exciting art from Indian creators filtering into LA and New York in recent years–particularly work by women artists. This includes pieces by video artists like Anita Dube and mixed media artist Mithu Sen.

If you’re visiting Mumbai, you’ll want to check out the National Gallery of Modern Art. And don’t forgot to wander through the streets of Colaba, a hub for classic and contemporary art galleries like The Guild.


Beijing 798 Art Space China
China’s explosion of contemporary art (much of it pop and cynical realism) a few years ago, ushered in loads of artiste imposters. Rumor had it that Chinese students were applying to art schools in droves with the intention of making money.

The initial frenzy may have died down but there is still some incredible new art to be found in Beijing–from private ateliers, to Art Scene Beijing, ShangART Gallery and MK2 Art Space. If you can’t make it out to Beijing, much of the art filters through Shanghai (see ShanghART’s gallery there too) and Hong Kong (galleries in the SoHo district).

Kreuzberg Art Neighborhood in Berlin Germany
Berlin is a must-stop on any art trip. And if you happen to drop by in 2012, you just might catch the Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art–which has been running since the late ’90s.

If it’s graffiti and street art you’re after, Kreuzberg is your neighborhood. It’s not all great art, mind you. But if you’re up for the adventure, wandering the streets in Berlin’s former squat neighborhood can be an energizing and edgy experience.


Art in Amsterdam Holland The Netherlands

The Dutch are pretty much synonymous with painting, at least on a historical level, via their Masters. There is plenty of classical art to see in Amsterdam by the Museumplein (home to the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum).

But Amsterdam’s contemporary mixed media work (video, installations, etc.) is the real draw for serious contemporary art travelers. The Stedelijk Bureau (a small contemporary project annex of the Stedelijk Museum), and the SMART Projects Space showcase such creations.

Art in Moscow Russia

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is an essential stop if you’re scouting art on your travels. But if you’re looking for top ‘name-brand’ galleries alongside edgy up-and-comers, look no further than theWinzavod Moscow Centre for Contemporary Art.

This industrialized art space/former winery is home to leading galleries like XL and M & J Guelman and new galleries like Meglinskaya which carries the work of Russian nonconformist and documentary photographers.

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