Looking for a good opportunity to go check out some art this weekend? Smithsonian magazine, affiliated with the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., is sponsoring Museum Day Live!, an event that sees 1,500+ museum across the United States opening their doors for free. Just fill out a ticket, pick an institution from the list, and go.
Each Museum Day ticket (available through the form here) will get two people into a participating museum (it’s on a household basis though, so the whole family can’t go at once). The list is extensive — this interactive map makes it easy to find a museum in every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. To help speed your search, we’ve selected ten museums across the country to visit. Either pick one close to you, or jump in your private jet and see all of them!
1. Los Angeles, California — Chinese American Museum
Located in the city with one of the US’s oldest chinatowns, this museum is currently exhibiting (de)Constructing Chinatown, showcasing artists that break down stereotypes and misperceptions of the neighborhood.
2. San Francisco, California — Museum of Vision
San Francisco’s Museum of Vision celebrates “ophthalmic history” with an exhibition on early use of photography by physicians, used to share cases with their colleagues and document medical procedures.
3. Chicago, Illinois — Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is the only non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to presenting art made by those outside the mainstream art world. It is currently showing a dual exhibition of two outsider artists who share a name: Williams Hawkins and Hawkins Bolden.
4. Honolulu, Hawaii — Queen Emma Summer Palace
Built in the 19th century, the palace was a retreat for Queen Emma and her husband King Kamehameha IV from 1857 to 1885. The New England-inspired structure is now a historic landmark.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Institute of Contemporary Art
Philly’s ICA is the home of cutting-edge art in the city, a great companion to the larger (and more intimidating) Philadelphia Art Museum. The ICA is currently hosting a mid-career retrospective of Jeremy Deller, a British artist who often works in social practice.
6. Lowell, Massachusetts — American Textile History Museum
Housed in a picturesque old factory building, the American Textile History Museum gives a glimpse into the tumultuous past of textiles in American industry as well as the technology behind it, from old looms to new carbon fiber weaves.
7. Houston, Texas — Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum is a great place to catch up-and-coming artists at work. The space is currently featuring Jane Alexander’s creepy sculptural dolls that comment on racial politics and a solo show of the late Bronx photographer Alvin Baltrop.
8. New York, NY — Bard Graduate Center
Affiliated with the well known Bard curatorial education program, the Bard Graduate Center is an exhibition space stashed away in an Upper West Side town house. The center is currently showing “Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010,” an exhibition that explores the pageantry of the circus through ephemera and artifacts.
9. Minnesota, Minneapolis — Walker Art Center
Known for its innovative online programming as well as its provocative exhibitions, the Walker Art Center has on display a retrospective of art from the 1980s as well as a look at American avant-garde film in the 1960s and 1970s.
10. Miami, Florida — Miami Art Museum
In preparation for Basel coming up in a few months, why not check out the Miami Art Museum? The institution is showing the first major solo museum exhibition of artist Rashid Johnson, whose complex sculptures deal with composite identities and material histories.
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