Top 10 Cultural Cities

Top 10 Cultural Cities

Aesthetica selects ten destinations which offer visually and conceptually arresting architecture, galleries and museums.

1. New York

Recognised as the birthplace of many cultural movements, New York is home to a wealth of renowned institutions – including The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum. The iconic city also boasts a wide range of smaller photography galleries dedicated to emerging talent, alongside hosting annual international fairs.

2. London

In a similar way, London is a prominent destination for the arts. From The National Gallery and Tate Modern to the Design Museum and The Photographers’ Gallery, it has a comprehensive and wide-reaching selection of institutions that showcase all disciplines. Examples include Serpentine Galleries, Barbican Centre, Whitechapel Gallery and more.

3. Liverpool

This year, Liverpool hosts the 20th anniversary edition of its Biennial, alongside year-round programmes at innovative new media arts centre, FACT, and contemporary photography space, Open Eye Gallery. It is also home to Tate Liverpool, which presents works from an extensive national collection of modern pieces.

4. Berlin

Widely recognised for its a boundary-pushing creative scene, Berlin offers a wide range of photography centres, including C/O Berlin, CAMERA WORK, Museum für Fotografie and Helmut Newton Foundation. These spaces – alongside the current European Month of Photography – highlight both new and established voices.

5. Amsterdam

Traversing the rich trajectory of art history, Amsterdam blends old and new with striking dexterity. From Rijksmuseum’s large collection of artefacts to Stedelijk Museum’s essential contemporary exhibitions, it provides iconic landmarks such as the Van Gogh Museum as well as exciting image-based shows at FOAM and Huis Marseille.

6. Stockholm

Moderna Museet, Magasin III, Bonniers Konsthall and Galleri Magnus Karlsson make up Stockholm’s growing cultural landscape. Photography institution Fotografiska’s a rich year-round programme of between 15-20 major shows is continually inspiring, whilst Arkdes is recognised as Sweden’s largest architecture museum.

7. Gwangju

This South Korean city is home to Asia’s leading Biennale. The Gwangju Biennale 2018 takes Imagined Borders as its theme, bringing together 153 practitioners from 41 countries to address the political, social, physical and emotion underpinnings of borders in today’s global community.

8. Washington DC

Home to Hirshhorn Museum, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of African Art to name just a few, Washington DC offers audiences a wide-reaching selection of established institutions. Current shows at Smithsonian include retrospectives of Trevor Paglen and Diane Arbus.

9. Helsinki

Helsinki’s The Finnish Museum of Photography and Design Museum are destinations for those interested in both Finnish and international practice. The region is known for a distinctive architectural landscape; its skyline is punctuated by buildings from a variety of eras – from wooden structures to glass facades.

10. Rotterdam

Situated in Rotterdam, Netherlands Photo Museum brings together historical and societal images from the 20th and 21st century, with a varied programme of internationally-recognised exhibits. One of the country’s most innovative museums, Kunsthal Rotterdam offers striking interior and exterior views.

1. New York City, 1975 © Joel Meyerowitz. From the book “Where I Find Myself.” Published by Laurence King.
2. Crowd #7 (Bob Hope Airport), 2013. Photograph: Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
3. A truck and a car, 2017. © Stefanie Moshammer. From the Series I Can Be Her.
4. Melanie-Smith. Maria Elena, 2018/ Photo-Julien-Devaux
5. flylight, arsenale venice (2014) | courtesy of carpenters workshop gallery
6. © Evelyn Bencicova
7. The Light Box, archival inkjet print, 150¡¿187.5cm 2013. Courtesy of Chen Wei Studio
8. Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4),
9. Werner Mantz, Café Wien, Cologne, 1929, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Cologne.
10. Aura Saarikoski, Näkyvyys alle 1 km
11. ALEX PRAGER, Nancy, 2008. Courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.