JET SET For us, a favorite portal into an unknown place — its past, present, and future — is the arts. Combining this with our love of unique spaces, we trotted the globe to gather our top locales for “art spotting” around the world, from a snack factory turned modern art space in New York to a warehouse converted into contemporary art center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 1 21c Museum Hotels SEVEN U.S. LOCATIONS Founded by art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c Museum Hotels are an innovative union of hospitality and artistic communities, where you’ll find museum and exhibition spaces within boutique hotels. At their recently opened Oklahoma City location, a former Ford Motor Company assembly plant was converted into a contemporary interpretation of the building’s industrial heritage with 14,000 square feet of exhibition space and luxurious rooms designed by New York-based architecture firm, Deborah Berke Partners. In seven locations across the country, 21c Museum Hotels have featured installations and exhibitions from over 700 contemporary artists, including Chuck Close, Kara Walker and Elmgreen & Dragset. The fast-growing initiative now boasts over 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, with each location focused on site-specific touches that range from wallpaper to large-scale sculpture. Each hotel also places an emphasis on farm-to-table fare that celebrates the area’s culinary identity. Proof on Main, located within the Cincinnati location, was named one of Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants,” while Lockbox, at 21c’s Lexington, Kentucky hotel, has been recognized by Bon Appetit on their list of “10 Best Hotels for Food Lovers.” 21cmuseumhotels.com 2 Dia:Beacon BEACON, NEW YORK Set in a former Nabisco factory built along the Hudson River in 1929, Dia:Beacon presents a collection of art from the 1960s to the present. The building, which was once used to produce the packaging for snacks such as Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, and Ritz Crackers, now stands as a symbol of Beacon’s past as a major industrial and manufacturing city, located about 70 miles north of Manhattan. Working closely with installation artist Robert Irwin, the Dia Art Foundation converted the 300,000-squarefoot space into a 21st-century museum that has since been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to their permanent collection, Dia:Beacon has regularly hosted internationally recognized exhibitions since opening in 2003 and galvanized the city as a sought-after arts destination drawing visitors from around the world. Past exhibitions include Andy Warhol’s Shadows and Dan Flavin’s series of fluorescent light “monuments to v. Tatlin,” while guests can expect to see works by such artists as Gerhard Richter, Louise Bourgeois, and Sol LeWitt in the permanent collection. If you find yourself in NYC, but unable to make the trip to Beacon, Dia’s Chelsea gallery is an equally impressive place to get your art fix in the city. diaart.org 3 Cwart KNOKKE-HEIST, BELGIUM What was once a farm located near Belgium’s border with the Netherlands now serves as an exhibition space for the town of Knokke-Heist’s vibrant creative community. This seaside resort town, set along the North Sea, is home to only 33,000 people, yet there are more than 40 art galleries and perhaps none as unique as Cwart. Dating back to 1335, the farm was recently transformed into a modern-rustic space that provides opportunities to emerging artists.The off-the-beaten path destination is centered around works that evoke a fully immersive experience, with each project focused on exploring the relationship between traditional art forms and contemporary mediums. Offering a feast for all the senses in a cozy atmosphere, after meandering through the exhibition space one can enjoy local dishes at Cwart’s restaurant or a glass of vino at the stylish wine bar. The multi-functional venue also holds events, film screenings and concerts, and for those who need a place to work, there’s also a co-working space that caters to creatives and entrepreneurs. cwart.be 4 The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM When you find yourself in Ho Chi Minh City, chances are you’re looking to indulge in the unrivaled street food on nearly every corner, but in between those delicious bánh mì sandwiches and piping hot bowls of pho, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre is well worth a visit. While Vietnam has a well-known tradition in such artistic mediums as lacquer painting, silk production, and wood craftsmanship, The Factory serves as a multi-disciplinary platform showcasing a new generation of artists, located in the fashionable Thao Dien neighborhood. The building itself — a repurposed warehouse — is a work of art that one enters by walking under an upended shipping container that whimsically comments on the country’s rapid industrialization. Inside, the open layout maintains soaring exposed beams of the building’s past life that complement the contemporary décor. It holds a variety of spaces, from a co-working area to F Bar & Kitchen, where we highly recommend a rooftop cocktail post art viewing. factoryartscentre.com
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