The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City is all about Himalayan art - works from Tibet, Nepal, India, China, and the surrounding areas. It's a really unique and interesting place, where I learned about religion and symbolism that's very different from what I'm used to.
The World Between Two Empires shows art and artifacts made in the Middle East between about 100 BCE and 250 CE. It recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I got to see it during preview days. I really enjoyed seeing beauty and culture that I didn't know much about before.
The Wadsworth Athenaeum, in Hartford, CT, is one of America's oldest art museums. It was founded by Daniel Wadsworth in 1842. However, it has been expanded several times since them. The museum has a little bit of everything, from paintings to porcelain, ancient Egyptian to contemporary European. It's a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
For those of you new to the art-viewing, museum-going experience, do you feel unsure what to see first? If so, I can make a few suggestions. I've come up with three areas that I think are particularly accessible and enjoyable to new viewers. You'll find them in most major museums, and they also happen to be among my favorites.
I just finished reading Thomas Hoving's King of the Confessors, which is about Hoving's adventures in acquiring what's now called The Cloisters Cross. Thanks to him, this English Romanesque carved ivory cross is one of the highlights of the Met Cloisters. The story is wild, and I couldn't put it down.
This installment of Art That Inspires Me features a Japanese Buddhist statue that appeared on a poster sent to me by the Yale University Art Gallery.
El Anatsui (b. 1944) is a Nigerian artist who creates beautiful, tapestry-like works out of found materials like bottle caps and scrap metal. I've been lucky enough to see his work at a few different museums.
One type of art I've always loved is ancient Cycladic figurines. These little marble figures have been found on the Aegean islands of the Cyclades and were created in ancient times. They depict human figures and can be found in most major museums.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington D.C. was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. She was a great hostess, philanthropist, and art collector. Her home is gorgeous and filled with treasures.
Unlike his father, George Vanderbilt wasn't a huge art collector. He collected prints, but beyond that, he generally preferred to spend his money on his home and lands rather than paintings and sculptures. However, he still managed to acquire quite a few notable works of art that are now on display at Biltmore. Here are some of my favorites.