It was only a few years ago that I discovered that there is a growing tourist market for what is called ‘destination art’.
You won’t find this type of art in a conventional gallery. It is generally large in scale and tends to be situated in the great outdoors where you can experience and confront the art works in a very different way to a gallery space.
It is a much more accessible way of looking at the art which often becomes part of the landscape and its environment.
Favourite outdoor art
Over the last few years I’ve sought out destination art on my holidays or weekend trips around the UK.
Many of the sites are in spectacular locations such as the Storm King Art Center in New York State which is a massive outdoor sculpture park featuring more than 100 works by artists such as Richard Serra, Sol Lewitt and Andy Goldsworthy.
Some destination art is located in cities including Gaudi’s colourful collage of pieces in Barcelona, Antony Gormley’s 6 Times in Edinburgh, and Watts Towers, a weird and wonderful piece of ‘outsider art’ in Los Angeles.
Berlin is another great city to discover destination art with much of the former Wall now converted into the huge outdoor East Side Gallery.
The Kroller Muller Museum in Arnhem in Holland is one of the best in Europe with a vast site devoted to great works by contemporary artists.
Hire a bike and cycle around the works – or walk the art trail and soak up the scenery.
And then there are sites which are almost impossible to get to without being intrepid and incredibly tenacious. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty on the far side of Salt Lake City’s Great Lake is one of those – and is best seen from the air!
It is be reached by car along unpaved roads (skirting a restricted military area) and is only visible during lower water levels which vary depending on the season.
The UK is blessed with a huge number of destination art sites, thanks to a boom in public art funding in the 1990s and early 200os.
Luckily, I live near one of Britain’s best known sites – the Angel of the North (another Gormley) dominates Gateshead and can be seen by car, bus or train.
Its huge stature dominates the skyline. The Angel is 20 metres high (the height of four double-decker buses) with a wingspan of 54 metres (as big as a jumbo jet).
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the UK’s best outdoor art sites with a series of outdoor spaces as well as indoor galleries featuring international artists.
Walk the estate and you’ll see everything from Henry Moore sculptures to land art by Andy Goldsworthy and David Nash.
The park has something for everyone, whether you’re an art expert or casual visitor. A great day out for the whole family.
Tammy’s Top Tips – Outdoor Art
* There are a couple of excellent books on destination art which have a comprehensive list of global sites as well as features on the bigger art sites. These books also make great coffee table reading.
* North America is a hot spot for outdoor art installations with New York State being a particularly good area for art lovers. Storm King is one of the best of the bigger sites.
* Take a camera. Large scale outdoor art lends itself brilliantly to being photographed especially on days with good light and sunshine. Most sites have no restrictions on taking photographs.
* Take a decent map and directions. In my experience some art sites are not always easy to find and may not be well signposted.
* For many sites you’ll need a car but there are also some that can be reached easily by public transport.
Dia Beacon in New York State (largely indoor) is next door to Beacon rail station (40 mins from New York by train).
Parc Guell in Barcelona is also within easy reach of the city’s Metro services.
Berlin’s East Side Gallery is best seen by bike or on foot.