Destination Art with deeper meaning
Take in these works while you're away and add a lesson in politics, society and world history to your art excursion
Not every monument or memorial is an important, engaging work of art. There are plenty of worthy ones that commemorate one cause, or warn against some danger, which you really wouldn’t care to see on a postcard or indeed, reproduced in a book.
We skipped over those works for Destination Art. Instead our new book takes a detailed look at 500 artworks around the world worth taking a trip to see. Brought to you by the editors behind our successful global architecture guide, Destination Architecture, Destination Art highlights great work across the globe, from Los Angeles to Luxembourg, Bilbao to Bristol. Some of these are bright, colourful works, that are simply fun to look at; however, there are plenty of other pieces that prompt deeper consideration.
Line Of Control, 2008, DLF South Court Mall, New Delhi, India, by Subodh Gupta (above) Indian artist Gupta, was inspired to create this work when hearing of the estimated death toll a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan might yield, yet, as our book explains, this specific work could be read more widely. “Located in a New Delhi shopping mall adjacent to the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art,” says Destination Art, “Gupta’s sculpture symbolizes the threat that nuclear weapons pose to daily life around the globe.”
You Have Given Me Love, 2016, New York City AIDS Memorial, New York City, USA, by Jenny Holzer Holzer’s reproduction of US poet Walt Whitman’s most famous work is all the more poingnant, given its location. “The site of this memorial is steeped in sombre history: one of the country’s earliest AIDS hospital wards was across the street,” explains our book. “In the memorial’s concrete pavers, Holzer engraved the words of New Yorker Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself,” selected for its message of hope and transcendence.”
The Whispers, 2008, Folkestone, UK, by Christian Boltanski A simple, British seaside bench has been turned into a vivid, aural war memorial, by this brilliant French artist. “While sitting on this bench, looking out to sea, visitors can listen to voices reading letters sent to and from British servicemen during World War I,” explains our book. “The piece references the town’s history: soldiers passed through Folkestone on their way to the battlefields in France and Belgium.”
Mandela Cell, 2014, Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park, South Africa, by Jeremy Rose This rendering of Mandela’s prison quarters contrasts starkly with this wide open space, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. “This concrete structure mirrors the dimensions of Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, where he was incarcerated from 1964 to 1982,” explains our new book. “The park’s 37 acres of landscaped gardens, where Rose’s sculpture sits, are themselves set within a vast nature reserve.”
Gay Liberation, 1980, New York City, USA, by George Segal This peaceful, figurative work stands in contrast to the important acts of civil disobedience that occurred in this Lower Manhattan neighbourhood, as our book explains. “A male couple stands chatting while two women engaged in intimate conversation sit on a nearby bench,” says Destinatino Art. “Cast in Segal’s signature style, this bronze tableau commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots that occurred nearby in Greenwich Village, widely considered as a milestone in the modern movement for gay rights.”
Holocaust Memorial, 2000, Vienna Austria, by Rachel Whiteread Rather than focus on the appalling mechanisms of the Nazis’ crimes, Whiteread’s work offers a more tender, consideration meditation on lives lost. “This memorial, also known as the “Nameless Library,” is a part of a pedestrian square in Vienna, explains our book. “Dedicated to the 65,000 Austrian Jews killed during the Holocaust, its exterior is surfaced with cast library shelves lined with thousands of nameless books (their spines face inward) to represent Jews as the People of the Book and to highlight the immense number of victims.”
Keen to see and learn about more works worth a trip to see? Then order a copy of Destination Art here. This excellent new art travel guide lists 500 works by 340 artists in 300 different cities and 60 different countries, all worth a going out of your way to viist. You can buy your copy here. And look out for the next story from it in our phaidon.com series.