The river of art in America is fed by two springs; one the indigenous art dating back to thousands of years ago, and the modern art consequent with the American contemporary foundation. While the indigenous panaches remained quiet unchanging in their humble nature, contemporary styles have come a long way- from the early realism portraits and landscape paintings of the late 18th century, followed by the influential revolution of art in Europe and breaking of the rigid boundaries of perfection in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Art was the very husk of the formative American culture, building up its way to the country’s first international art movement that changed the outlook on visual art, music, and literature forever.
To understand the journey of American art and artistic impression of this melting pot of opportunity- as the country was once called- visit these 20 art museums in the United States.
Some of the world’s most cherished and influential art collections are protected within MoMA in New York. Grand in purview and size, this leading contemporary art museum covers all forms of visual arts; with a scenic sculpture garden, Avant-garde painting exhibitions, modern to historic photographs, thousands of manuscripts and books, films and the list goes on.
Masterworks of great European artists such as Van Gogh’s much-theorized painting of the Starry Night, Salvador Dali’s remarkable surrealism as in The Persistence of Memory, sit aside influential American paintings- like Andy Warhol’s works on pop culture. Visiting the museum is described as an experience, rather than an activity.
The popularity of the Metropolitan Museum of Art lures millions of visitors annually to New York, most of whom are inspiration-seeking intellectuals, artists, and students seeking to break the codes of art.
Comprising an area as large as eight football fields, over two million artifacts are showcased here, housing from famous paintings and sculptures such as Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses, unique art-related items like the world’s oldest piano, the journey of costumes and fashion designs up to the present, sensational components from around the world as an Egyptian temple to the medieval era, and a vast collection of armory- the scenic displays and atmospheric collections have themselves inspired other artworks such as movies and literature.
The art-riddled epicenter of the American ruling seat, Washington city, is embraced within the fine architecture of the National Gallery of Art- concentrating around the western art revolution until today. Noted among the world’s largest exhibitions, the structure boasts Greek temple demeanors, blending into award-winning and abstract contemporary architectural style.
Apart from the enchanting sculpture garden, the museum houses many praiseworthy features; Leonardo da Vinci’s only painting in the new world- called Ginevra de’Benci or the aristocrat-, renowned and largest example of Calder Mobile sculptures, paintings from the most eminent European artists and much more. The gallery is free of charge for the public, in addition to its groomed ice rink during the frosty season.
Ranking as one of the world’s best museums and Illinois’s No.1, the grand museum of Art Institute of Chicago embraces mostly the Unorthodox revolution of impressionist and post-impressionist styles- together with European neo-classical artists, masters of Asian art, and American contemporary masterpieces- both conceptual and decorative.
As one of the country’s oldest art centers, it started out as an art school in the late 19th century and yet remains as the United States’ most prominent art school, and largest school-museum campus.
It is said that art is fed by art; but before that, art is fed by the impactful emotional inspirations- whether sweet or bitter. At the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, the unnatural history of a race torn from home and forced to fight for freedom in uninherited terrains is documented within the exhibits.
The museum and its title are the proof of a rigid stand, on which Washington post commented; “It took over 100 years for the African American Museum to become a reality.”. Sculptures, paintings,s, and artifacts testify to the anguish and contributions of the black community to the U.S. While representing a part of Smithsonian Institute, the museum is completely admission free.
The west coast’s first art museum is exceptional in all aspects; the architectural excellence including the tallest plant-covered mural known as the Living Wall and the world-eminent artworks mostly encircling 19th-century art.
The seven-story building harbors sculptures, a grand collection of recognized paintings such as Henri Matisse’s Woman with a Hat, mural artworks by native artists, a children’s play area, its own terrace restaurant, and even a designed area for kid-friendly interactive programs and plays areas- all together nominating this museum as one of our top family-friendly art museums in America.
Besides the war recounts for the glorified chronicles of authorities, the war’s grotesque effects have fathered many artworks; The National WWII Museum covers both military artifacts and memorials from the second world war and inspirational masterworks from national and foreign artists.
Historical exhibitions walk the visitors through the real-life models and perceptibly displayed events, sided by theater performances and an elegant restaurant.
Started as the personal passion and contribution of Paul J. Getty, Getty Center is one of the world’s most distinguished art museums today. Gathering well-recognized masterpieces- including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and sculptures- mostly from Europe, and art by multicultural origins. Besides the exhibitions, the center is famed for the remarkable gardens, central fountain, and its architectural brilliance.
San Francisco’s finest art museum is a home to the American art revolution from the colonial era to modern days- a journey through five centuries of a thriving culture. Previously labeled as the San Francisco’s Attic, today the museum is not the highest viewpoint anymore, though boasts miscellaneous collections that array from world-class masterpieces, native art- from African American and indigenous communities- to heritage vestiges.
Rising as the world’s loftiest Copper Clad structure, De Young is described as an assemblage of art within a work of art.
Named as the museum of non-objective painting, Guggenheim Museum is acknowledged for its architecture, modernism-oriented art pieces, and holding one of the country’s wealthiest art collections. The architectural design of this structure has been named among the century’s most important edifices.
Combining Austrian construction techniques with the fineness of Japanese works, Guggenheim is the crown jewel of Manhattan structures, with titles such as America’s youngest national historic landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amid the permanent art pieces, impressionism and post-impressionism encompass most of the displays.
Built on the principles of the ancient Indian temples, the Broad Museum and its architecture are unique in several facets-awarded as a leading cultural destination. Besides the exterior and the ceiling’s exceptional natural light illumination, the museum’s collections are focused on contemporary art.
Artists such as Barbara Kruger, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons- with colossal art displays and the renowned Metallic Venus, and a great many other grand American names have left their much-cherished thumbprints in the museum’s custody care. General admission is free of charge.
Recognized as the largest museum of western America, Los Angeles County Museum of Art harbors thousands of years of artistic creation from all over the globe- while highlighting the best of American contemporary art pieces.
The collections seize the essence of ancient Indian and Tibet, Islamic cultural bloom in the Arabic and middle eastern cultures, medieval European masters, Latin America’s art, and finally works of native artists and pop culture persons such as Elvis Presley. In the eyes of LACMA, art is whole and links all cultures and races. This museum stands among the free admission art centers in America.
Claimed as one of the most comprehensive fine art exhibitions worldwide, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts presents eclectic exhibits- ranging from one of the world best collections of antiquated Egyptian showpieces, the Dutch Golden Age Paintings, French impressionistic art and accompanied by exhibitions that portray the art evolution in the contemporary era.
As the newly added segment, the Art of the Americas wing focuses on American art, mostly the resident art institute collected pieces from the mid-19th century until today.
Identified as the highlight of Detroit’s cultural treasures, the Detroit Institute of Arts remains among the country’s largest and groundbreaking exhibitions. The entrance is adorned with the muscular figure of The Thinker- the remarkable work of Auguste Rodin, the 19th-century French sculptor, leading the way to the building, boasting the fine architecture and frescoed murals by Diego Rivera, that illustrate the Detroit Industry.
Exhibits spotlight works from the European legendary artists, south America and the United States throughout several centuries- featuring prominent works such as Van Gogh’s self-portrait and Robert Rauschenberg’s the Creek.
Some of the country’s most prestigious exhibits survive here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art- often referred to as the pulsating heart of Pennsylvania’s culture. After a celebratory display at the centennial anniversary of America’s founding, exhibitions of art and industrial innovation remained permanently at one of Philly’s most iconic structures.
Portraying a glamorous Greek Classical-style, the museum is located at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. With over a quarter-million artifacts and masterpieces shine a light on the spectacular journey of inspirational creation- from the ancient realms of India and Egypt to the aristocratic age in medieval Europe and until the casualness of contemporary art.
Located at the cultural hub and university neighborhoods, Cleveland Museum of Art is both a civic institute and an art museum, with comprehensive collections from all major cultures and eras. Most significant exhibition in the hall of Greek and Roman bust sculptures and art, sided by Asian masterworks from the middle ages, African arts, and a great deal of art signed by of famous names; including Dali, Picasso, Monet, and other European renowned painters and sculptors- sheltered beneath the towering glass atrium.
Among the notable exhibits are; Decorative glass works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, anonymous ancient Egyptian artworks including the richly adorned Bakenmut and Nesykhonsu sarcophaguses, a significant armor display, and perhaps the most famous work of pop culture in this museum, Warhol’s Marilyn x 100.
Although a young museum, Dia: Beacon itself epitomizes around the new, with abstract paintings and conceptual masterworks of modern America- an artist mecca for abstract and modernist art lovers.
Perched in the verdant Hudson Valley, the museum is found in 11 locations, including the old box printing factory overlooking the Hudson River, Germany, Utah, and New Mexico. Due to its location, this art center is known to combine world-class art, a rich cultural feel, and recreational activity.
Ranked as the 6th largest art museum in the U.S., Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts offers comprehensive exhibits of antiquated artifacts and conceptual and decorative arts. Demonstrations range from European masters from the 13th century onwards, sub-Saharan creative inspirations, pre-Colombian American art, African and Pacific region masterworks.
Additionally, it owns a fine collection of cultural relics, from middle eastern and Mediterranean, Egyptian and Asian art-mingled artifacts. Deriving out of the modern memorials, photographic masterworks and American contemporary art mark the major highlights of the New World Culture.
Founded as an art-ridden collection of Jorge M. Pérez, the American Argentinian philanthropist, Pérez Art Museum points to one of the country’s finest contemporary art compilations- while suggesting the city’s most cultured destination. From outside, the vista of garden patches hanging from the lattice of the building’s trellis roof catches the eye- a true artistic representation of gardens in heights- resembling tropical foliage and verdant spaces.
Exhibitions extend from the golden age of contemporary art, eighty years of abstract, conceptual, and restorative styles. With an exquisite café, a restaurant, and interactive programs for all ages on the weekends, this museum is a popular family destination as well.
Standing among New York’s marvelous art centers, the Whitney Museum of American Art cherishes centuries of artwork from Europe and America- although it aims to shine a light on the rising stars of American art.
Innovation is the motto and aim of Whitney Museum, in the presentation of a full-length journey of contemporary art through the 19th and 20th century, and promotion of living artists.
In addition to the list above, here are two other of our favorite art museum that we think you should try on your cultural journey through America;
Rhode Island School of Design Museum is one of America’s principal art institutes, and a grand exhibition of African and Asian cultural artifacts, European masterworks, and American art- decorative and contemporary. The building itself is a heritage treasure and an architectural panache, that sits within a historic landmark, built with the finest of Venetian Renaissance Revival.
The Frick Collection carries the essence of industrial France, and medieval Europe, lodged in the mansion of a New Yorker millionaire, Henry Clay Frick. Noted for its rich collections of art from legendary works of Old Masters, to decorative art and contemporary masterpieces of international and particularly American artists.