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Amir Building at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, October 27 07:00 AM

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It's impossible to guess what lies beneath the new Herta and Paul Amir Building of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (opening November 2) when viewing it from outside. Architect Preston Scott Cohen's prismatic shiplike structure, made of 430 polished cement and glass panels, hides a library, an auditorium, and almost 30,000 square feet of gallery space in its unassuming angular belly. Ramped promenades and staircases spiral around a top-lit 87-foot-high atrium, its complex geometric surfaces bouncing the Mediterranean sun three floors below ground.

A temporary exhibit of works by Anselm Kiefer plus 250 pieces from the museum's permanent collection (prints, drawings, photography, design, video, and sculpture from 1906 to the present) will inaugurate the $55 million cultural hub--as well as Tel Aviv's Art Year festival.

Photo © Amit Geron. Courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, October 14 11:08 AM

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What better way to wish artist Gerhard Richter happy birthday (it'll be his 80th come 2012) than by paying homage at Tate Modern? The London museum is fêting the contemporary master's work with a new retrospective, Panorama.

Over the course of his 50-year career, the German painter has explored pretty much every significant art movement of the 20th century, from squeegee-painted abstraction to hyperrealism and classic portraiture. Expect to encounter delicate watercolor portraits alongside gritty social commentary, such as Richter's series on the Baader-Meinhof Gang. We're especially smitten with his 1960s-era Everyday Life paintings, in which scenes and people are subtly blurred, creating hauntingly beautiful snapshots of loss and dislocation. Who knew melancholy could make us so happy?

Gerhard Richter: Panorama at Tate Modern, through January 8, 2012

Photo: Courtesy of Tate Modern

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, September 19 01:03 PM

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We're pushovers for a provocateur, and few designers deserve that label more than Jean Paul Gaultier. Over the past four decades, he's evolved from enfant terrible to fashion's elder statesman without seeming to have aged a day (perhaps it has something to do with his boyish white-blonde 'do). And now, thanks to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts' exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, you don't have to be a boldface name to get up close and personal with the designer.

The retrospective includes 140 of Gaultier's showstopping pieces, along with sketches, costumes, movie excerpts, and videos. And, of course, the Madonna cone bra. That's a lot of blond ambition for one room.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, tickets $15, through October 3 in Montréal. Subsequent tour stops include Dallas, San Francisco, Madrid, and Rotterdam.

Photo: Courtesy of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, August 22 11:35 AM

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Quiet. Respite. Solitude. Not words usually associated with New York City. But from September 15-18 and 22-25, stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, a conceptual art collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum, Estonia-born composer Arvo Pärt, and Snøhetta (the architecture firm behind New York City's National September 11 Memorial and Museum) will redefine your aural perceptions of the city.

A walking tour takes you to five "galleries" around lower Manhattan--including a green labyrinth in the Battery, an underground chamber at Governors Island, and off-limits rooms in landmark skyscrapers--where the interactive installation marries architecture with Pärt's signature minimalist compositions. Buy a ticket, get your map, and follow the three-hour route, or choose your own adventure throughout the day. Loop back. Meditate. Make it your own. In the city, finding peace and quiet is indeed an art.

Route starts at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park, 11 am to 7 pm (ticket sales close at 4 pm), $10. Advance reservations suggested.

Photo: Courtesy of Snøhetta 2011

Cité de l'Océan et du Surf, Biarritz, France

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, July 06 10:56 AM

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Something swell just hit the beach in Biarritz, France. The new Cité de l'Océan et du Surf is a museum dedicated to all things oceanic, including exhibitions on tides and currents and an outdoor kiosk catering to local surfers.

Architect and surfer Steven Holl collaborated with Brazilian artist Solange Fabião to create the building's arc, which seems to crest out of the landscape. The cobblestone exterior mimics the texture of the surrounding white-sand beaches, while the overall structure looks like a skateboard half-pipe. Land sharks won't be able to skate its curves, but they can show off their kickflips at the on-site skate pool. So whether you prefer to board by land or by sea, you'll never be bored.

Photo: Courtesy of Steven Holl

Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, June 21 07:00 AM

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Planes, trains, and automobiles have practically become our religion--and now intrepid travelers have a cathedral to call home. Opening today, the Riverside Museum in Glasgow is a sweeping temple to transport that's ripe for a summer pilgrimage.

Designed by Zaha Hadid to mimic the undulation of the surrounding harbor, the Iraqi/British starchitect's first U.K. construction is a squiggly warehouse of zinc-paneled peaks and glassy prisms holding over 3,000 objects and 150 interactive displays. Our faves include a Wall of Cars stacked to the ceiling with classics like the Hillman Imp, and the three re-created streets circa 1895-1980, chockablock with vintage trolleys and trams. In a nod to the rich maritime era that put Glasgow on the map, the tall ship Glenlee is moored right out front.

Our only question: Just how do you want to travel there...

Photo: Courtesy of Riverside Museum

Shanghai Museum of Glass

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 08 11:31 AM

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China isn't exactly known for transparency, but the country is making one thing clear with the opening of a new museum dedicated entirely to glass.

Housed in a former factory in Shanghai's Baoshan industrial district, the 53,000-square-foot institution explores the production, history, and applications of glass in the worlds of science, art, architecture, and astronomy. The collection and visiting exhibits include Han dynasty earrings made of glass and contemporary art by international and Chinese glass sculptors, all reflected in the striking black crystal interior. There's a space for glass-blowing demonstrations, too.

But you could just focus on the building itself, a sparkling example of glass craftsmanship in all its carved, faceted, stained, and lacquered glory. It's clearly worth the trip.

Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Museum of Glass

Avalon Hotel, Göteborg, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 01 07:00 AM

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Design exhibitions can be a bit frustrating, especially when the works on show--say, an Eames lounge chair just pleading to be sat on--are behind glass. But now that the fashion-, design-, and decorative arts-focused Röhsska Museum has paired up with Sweden's Avalon Hotel, you can look, touch, and swivel with verve.

In conjunction with the museum's Past-Present-Future exhibition (through September 30), design covetables from the collection have been replicated in the hotel's public areas and key guest rooms. Our faves include a tangerine Verner Panton Cone chair, a classic of late 1950s Scandinavian modernism; the full-size Horse lamp and Pig tray tables, quirks of design stars Moooi; and a DVD of Swedish FRONT design group's Blow Away Vase, showing in the elevators. Free workshops and design tours are offered for the truly obsessed. How novel: design that's actually within reach--at least for a night.

Photo: Courtesy of the Avalon Hotel

't Zilte Restaurant, Antwerp, Belgium

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 20 07:00 AM

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Back when the world was flat, the spice trade was the peak of culinary adventure. So it seems fitting that Belgium's Michelin-starred powerhouse 't Zilte restaurant--where classic cuisine is given a modern twist--has made a new maritime, ethnographic, and folklore institution, Antwerp's Museum Aan de Stroom, its second home.

Occupying the entire ninth floor of the hulking rust-colored stone-and-glass sentinel, the restaurant overlooks the city and river Schelde through floor-to-ceiling windows. 't Zilte may be sitting on top of some noteworthy exhibitions, but we're guessing chef Viki Geunes' creations, including five inventive variations on foie gras, are likely to be the most enticing of all.

Photo: Courtesy of 't Zilte

Ralph Lauren's Classic Sports Cars, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 22 01:27 PM

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The fashionable set rarely summers in Paris (that's what the Riviera is for). But Ralph Lauren is breaking with tradition by sending some of his favorite cars for a summer sojourn at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the western wing of the Louvre.

Starting this weekend and running through August 28, the museum will exhibit 17 automotive gems from the designer's extensive collection, including a 1938 lipstick red Alfa Romeo 8C (pictured), and a 1955 Jaguar XKD that would look right at home in the Batcave. Still in perfect working order, the cars are more than worthy companions to the museum's more famous masterpieces. It's not like the Mona Lisa can take you for a spin along the Champs-Élysées.

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Furman

The National Museum of China, Beijing

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 14 03:20 PM

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China has always been a nation of superlatives, and it just added another to the list: world's largest museum. The National Museum of China, in Beijing, is the result of a decade-long, $380-million project that combined the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.

The more than 1 million artifacts in the museum's collection provide an epic survey of Chinese history, from Yuanmou Man, who walked the land 1.7 million years ago, to current president Hu Jintao. With over 2 million square feet of galleries to cover--three times the size of the Louvre in Paris--we suggest you extend your trip and wear comfortable shoes.

Photo: ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 07 03:57 PM

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Greedy, greedy Mexico City. Not content to merely inspire architectural envy with your Aztec ruins, you had to go and conquer modern times with the new home of Museo Soumaya, too.

A passion project of Carlos Slim, the world's wealthiest man, and son-in-law architect Fernando Romero, the surreal, 150-foot-high structure is pure design fantasy. Windowless, except for the skylights on the top floor, the organic shape (reminiscent of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao) is wrapped in hexagonal aluminum plates.

Inside, you'll find Slim's eclectic 66,000-piece collection of religious relics, pre-Columbian gold coins, Diego Rivera murals, and plenty of European masters, including the world's largest private reserve of Rodins. Want to ponder The Thinker? Commune with Eve? They're here. And unlike at the Aztec empire's temples, there's no sacrifice necessary for this pilgrimage: Admission is free.

Photo: Courtesy of Museo Soumaya

Orient-Express Art of Travel, Europe

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 05 04:01 PM

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Seeing a masterpiece is one thing, but living it is another. That's the idea behind a partnership between the National Gallery in London and Orient-Express, which has launched 13 new train journeys this spring that expose travelers to famous paintings and the regions that inspired them.

You might view Monet's soft-focus landscapes before chugging through the French countryside to the artist's home in Giverny. Or perhaps you'll get lost in the vibrant Venetian cityscapes of Canaletto before riding the rails down to those self-same canals and waterways. National Gallery experts travel with you on Orient-Express's gilded Art Deco train--a masterpiece in itself.

Photo: Courtesy of Orient-Express

Ray's and Stark Bar, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, March 11 07:17 PM

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Los Angeles
has its fair share of beautiful people. So it makes sense that one of the city's top museums would want to put that beauty on display. Enter Ray's and Stark Bar, the newest addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, named for Ray Stark, the late film producer and former LACMA trustee.

Ray's glass-box design, by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, makes people the exhibit. Outside, museumgoers observe diners noshing on seasonal Mediterranean fare prepared by chef Kris Morningstar (formerly of District and Mercantile). Inside, diners survey museumgoers frolicking in Chris Burden's famous lamp-post installation, Urban Light. The open-air Stark Bar offers similar people-watching opportunities as well as market-fresh cocktails. Just don't overdo it and make an exhibition of yourself.

Photo: Courtesy of Dustin Downing

Gauguin: Maker of Myth, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 01 08:12 PM

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Most people think of D.C. as a buttoned-up kind of town. But this spring, the National Gallery of Art is stripping things down with a new Paul Gauguin exhibit--the artist's first major U.S. show in 20 years.

Gauguin is the traveler's painter, having hopped from Peru to Paris, Martinique to Tahiti. The 120 works in this exhibit evoke many of those places, with Polynesian nudes, rainbow-hued images of the South Seas, and mythological paradise paintings. Far-flung beaches and scantily clad subjects? It's the Post-Impressionist's answer to spring break.

Gauguin: Maker of Myth will be on view through June 5, 2011.

Photo: Paul Gauguin, Fatata te Miti (Near the Sea), 1892, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Collection

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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