Most of us visit modern art museums to check out the latest and greatest exhibits and we all marvel at the artist’s ability to make us feel a variety of emotions through their work. Many art museums have taken it a step further and have created works of art to house their works of art. We have put together a collection 8 of the coolest modern art museums that will amaze you before you even step inside the front door.
1. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao — Bilbao, Spain
This architectural work of art is the brainchild of American architect Frank Gehry. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a mind-blowing chrome and metal creation that is the home to an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art masterpieces and is a continuation of the Guggenheim legacy. Waiting to greet you on the front lawn is a colossal sculpture called “Puppy,” a West Highland White Terrier made of flowers that is the creation of American artist Jeff Koons.
2. Museum of Modern Art — New York City, USA
Everyone in the world knows this extremely influential art museum as just MoMA. The building may not be as unique as some of the other museums in our list, but MoMA is a giant in the world of modern art. This shiny Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building contains one of the most significant collections of modern art in the world. They are all here: Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Warhol, just to drop some names. MoMA’s growing collection contains almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art with more than 79,000 works of art available online. Visit MoMA and have your eyes and mind open to an unforgettable experience.
3. Bildmuseet — Umeå, Sweden
Photo: Johan Gunséus courtesy of Bildmuseet
Bildmuseet is the contemporary art and design museum located on the grounds of Umeå University in the Swedish city of Umeå. The beauty of Bildmuseet is undeniable, having been named one of the most beautiful university art galleries in the world in 2012. The building itself is a work of art, made with a facade of Siberian larch wood that fades to a silver-grey color over time. Its randomly-placed windows warm the white interior by letting in natural light and offers visitors scenic views of the Ume River. The museum’s exhibitions and education programs focus on, political and philosophical issues expressed through art.
4. Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa — Cape Town, South Africa
If this modern art museum in Cape Town looks like a silo, it’s because it is (or was). The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA ) is a public not-for-profit museum is a result of a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German businessman, Jochen Zeitz. The museum was constructed from a converted historic 1921 Grain Silo. The architects designed it to conserve and celebrate the original structure's industrial heritage. Africa is the focus of Zeitz MOCAA, which collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits 21st-century art from Africa and its diaspora—the first of its kind on the continent. You can even stay at Cape Town's Silo Hotel, which stands atop the museum complex.
5. Kunsthaus Graz — Graz, Austria
The Kunsthaus Graz, or Graz Art Museum, is a creation of English architects Colin Fournier and Peter Cook and was built as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003. This enormous building is affectionately called the "Friendly Alien" by its creators and has since become an architectural landmark in Graz. Fashioned using a style called blob architecture, Kunsthaus Graz’s exhibition program specializes staging international exhibitions of multidisciplinary, modern and contemporary art from the 1960s to the present day.
6. Niterói Contemporary Art Museum — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Perched on a cliff above the beaches of Rio, you might first think that a UFO has landed. At closer inspection, you will find the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, a building that looks like a spaceship with a wall of windows. From inside the museum designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, you will be offered stunning views of Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain. Beneath the structure, Niemeyer created a reflecting pool that, in his words, surrounds the cylindrical base “like a flower.” Fans of the Amazing Race will recognize the Niterói as the 11th pit-stop during season 18. The museum's permanent collection originates from João Sattamini, a Brazilian private collector who has one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world.
7. National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou — Paris, France
Even though the museum looks like it is in a state of perpetual construction, the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou was designed as an “evolving spatial diagram” by Italian architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It is among the most visited art museums in the world and houses one of the largest modern and contemporary art collections in the world (second only to MoMA). In fact, it was the first museum of contemporary art created in Europe. It was designed for living artists whose work was due to join the Louvre 10 years after their death.
8. Denver Art Museum — Denver, Colorado
The Mile-High City is home to an amazing piece of deconstructivist architecture--The Frederic C. Hamilton Building. This extremely cool building is part of the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and holds the Modern and Contemporary art, African art and Oceanic art collections. The Hamilton Building’s multifaceted geometric design is made up of 20 sloping planes, covered in 230,000 square feet of titanium panels. Adding to its unique shape, none of the 20 planes is parallel or perpendicular to another. The DAM hosts some heavy hitters in the modern art world including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Georgia O'Keeffe, and will also be home to one of the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings when it presents Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature, in the fall of 2019.