Art museums, sometimes considered the most pretentious of cultural institutions, are actually the simplest and sometimes most satisfying. Unlike many museums, art museums are for the spirit. You don’t have to do anything but open your eyes. Let Bluegreen show you the way to some of America’s best, most inspiring and most enjoyable art museums.
Beyond Art Deco Miami
Contemporary art is perhaps the most representative art of the world we live in today. North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, not far from Solara Surfside, features paintings, prints, sculptures, mixed media collage and new media installations. MOCA’s latest acquisitions, for instance, incorporate materials like burlap with resin, aluminum, a miner’s lantern, found objects such as a galvanized metal bucket and electronic pump, and a polished blue granite rock split 5 ways.
The museum itself is part of an urban art plaza that invites pedestrians to circulate into the building to see the art, check out the gift shop, eat at the café, or sit and enjoy the swaying palm trees. MOCA is also a hub for surrounding shops that feature collectible midcentury design. Closed on Mondays, general admission is very reasonable at $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
Our Very Own Museum
A gift from financier, public servant, and art collector Andrew Mellon, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. belongs to us, the American people (and our guests).
The West Building houses traditional European art, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere. The East Building features such major modern artists as Picasso, Miro and Matisse. In addition, a 6-acre sculpture garden includes works by Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg in a beautifully landscaped setting with a café.
Because the collection is so vast, one plan of attack is to take advantage of the NGA’s recommendations for the top 12 must-see works in each building. In the West Building, be sure to see Da Vinci’s Genevra and Raphael’s Bindo Altoviti. In the East Building Chuck Close’s finger painted portrait looks almost like the photorealism with which he is identified until you step back; and Leo Villareal has a mesmerizing celestial-like light sculpture.
Ninety minutes from Shenandoah Crossing, NGA is at the National Mall between Third and Ninth streets at Constitution Avenue NW; open daily, admission is free.
The Must-Visit Museum
No one can deny the vast holdings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art are extraordinary, from classical antiquity to modern art. But the Met is so much more than an art museum.
Why settle for dinner and a movie when you can take your honey for a drink and a painting? The museum has a balcony bar, with live classical music, the Petrie Court and wine bar and American Wing café, and a roof garden with refreshments and art. Open late Fridays and Saturdays (9 pm), the Met provides a great setting for a night out as well as a fabulous destination for art.
Within walking distance of The Manhattan Club, The Met is the solution anytime you’re not sure what to do. Visit for the art, stay for dinner, listen to music, and shop ‘til you drop in the museum gift shop.