Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Travel tips

Paris, the pyramids and great ancient cities like Persepolis have been the subject of cultural pilgrimages for centuries. Now there are a new batch of must visit places, this time focussed on contemporary art sights like Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field in New Mexico, the James Turrell installations on the Japanese island of Naoshima, the Chinati Foundation’s installation in Marfa, Texas, and The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. These extraordinary places came to mind because of a book we have been reading, well looking at really, called Spectacle by David Rockwell and designer Bruce Mau. Going far beyond static art sites, Rockwell explores spectacles that people make and people share. He helpfully groups them into six themes: Big, Bold, Brief, Connect, Transform and Immerse. So if you want to run with the bulls, swim in tomato paste, bake at Burning Man, catch the Macy’s parade or arrive in India for Holi, this is the book for you. But for those of us who still hanker for great places to see art, we asked Artspace’s Brian Butler where he would go right now to get the greatest art experiences. Brian excluded Los Angeles, London and New York (his two art immersion favourites) and proposed this list.

1 Marfa, Texas followed by driving the desert circuit to visit: The Lightning Field, Roden Crater, Double Negative, Spiral Jetty, and then on to the Pacific Ocean.
2 Syros, Greece where Martin Kippenberger built his first subway entrance in 1993
3 Tokyo
4 The Low Countries (Belgium and Holland) but especially Ghent
5 Machu Picchu