In May 2016, a young man placed a pair of glasses on the ground of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. Instead of walking by, dozens of people gathered around the irrelevant object to take photos and converse about its meaning.
Though comedic, this experiment shows just how much the definition of art has changed throughout recent years. While art has historically been characterized by its aesthetic qualities, the movement towards postmodernism has put the focus directly on a work’s ideological implications. Art doesn’t need to be beautiful in the traditional sense; it needs to elicit an emotional or mental response.
To get your dose of modern art, here’s our list of the coolest museums to find thought-provoking pieces:
MACBA: Barcelona is renowned for its art scene, and MACBA is at the epicenter of this city’s creativity. This futuristic building contains themed exhibits, strung together only by their unique and outlandish nature. Among the notable works in this museum is an exhibition chronicling the span of a full lifetime. One hundred consecutive photos show individuals aged six weeks to 100 years old, allowing you to walk by and watch the human body and face change throughout a lifetime.
Museum of Electronic Music: Though difficult to determine, Germans consider their country the birthplace of electronic music; and Frankfurt has the museum to display this pride. This museum can often feel more like a rave, as EDM culture rules through the building. The innovative layout and concepts result in a fully engrossing, multi-sensory experience.
Moderna Museet: Based in Stockholm, this is one of the most visited museums in Scandinavia, and you’ll understand why as soon as you get there. You’ll find the strange and beautiful creations of young Swedes, interspersed with Picasso’s and Van Ghoh’s. Though the temporary exhibits will set you back a bit, the museum’s permanent collection is free and open to the public.
MACM: This museum cannot be missed when travelling through Canada. Recent years have seen a resurgence of Aboriginal and Inuit artwork, in a modernized and avant-garde manner. Montreal’s premiere art gallery is the perfect place to find this incredible style of artwork, which often relates to colonialism, privilege and disenfranchisement.