Most Popular Contemporary Art Museums in the World

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Now, there are two ways to look at contemporary art. You can love it or hate it, but if you go to a contemporary art museum, you’ll get some of each. 

And that’s the beauty of modern art: people can interpret it in many different ways. 

We’ve compiled some of the most popular contemporary art museums worldwide so that you can engage with masterpieces of the 21st century and beyond.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Located in downtown Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum is part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and one of Frank Gehry’s most iconic buildings. The museum opened in 1997 and houses over 200 works from artists like Picasso, Rothko, Kandinsky, Max Ernst, Pollock, and Warhol.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is the most popular contemporary art museum in the world.

It’s located in Bankside, London, in a former Bankside Power Station building built-in 1963. 

Tate Modern hosts exhibitions from various artists and styles, including Monet, Picasso, Munch, and Warhol, as well as contemporary work from up-and-coming artists on display within this gallery space.

Tate Modern has been open since 2000 and attracts over 4 million visitors yearly, making it one of the most visited museums in Europe (second only to The Louvre).

MOMA

A visit to the MOMA is a must for anyone traveling through New York City. The museum is part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in Manhattan and has served as an art institution since its opening in 1929.

It has been home to over 150,000 works of art worldwide, including artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock.

The exhibits at this museum are regularly changed, so there’s always something new to see when you arrive on your next visit!

The Broad

The Broad is a contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, California. It is named after philanthropist Eli Broad and opened on September 20, 2015. It is the first museum to open in Los Angeles in over a decade. The building houses 129 modern and contemporary art pieces from some of the world’s most expensive artists, including Warhol, Koons & Richter.

Centre Pompidou

If you’re looking for a museum with more than just paintings, the Centre Pompidou is your best bet in Paris. This contemporary art museum boasts over 100 years of history and houses over 2,000 pieces from artists worldwide. 

The most well-known piece there is Henri Matisse’s “The Window” (1919), considered so radical that it was thought that no one would ever accept it as art.

Besides displaying famous masterpieces like Monet’s “Water Lilies,” this museum also hosts many temporary exhibitions. It runs various classes for children and adults alike to learn about new techniques or how to appreciate modern art differently. 

The building features an impressive architectural style: its outside walls are made up of double glass panes with metallic frames between them, making them transparent when seen from afar but opaque when viewed up close. 

At the same time, inside, many brightly colored rooms are filled with contemporary sculptures and installations created by famous artists such as Bruce Nauman or Yves Klein (who also designed one of their bathrooms).

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

It’s no surprise that MOMA is one of the most famous museums in the world, with over 9 million visitors each year. It was founded in 1929 by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller as an art gallery and museum—but it wasn’t until 1939 that MOMA debuted its permanent collection.

Since then, it has become one of the world’s largest and most influential museums. The museum consists of several buildings spread across Manhattan: AbEx; PS1; PIPES/PIPES2; and Tanager Gallery (which sometimes hosts special exhibitions).

The museum has long been known for its innovative programming choices. When they opened their first building in 1929, they were among a small group of galleries willing to show modernist works by artists like Picasso or Braque alongside traditional paintings by Degas or Rembrandt.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a modern art museum located in Humlebaek, Denmark. This museum is the largest in Denmark and was founded in 1958. The museum is located in a park. It has a sculpture garden and features an outdoor café with a sea view.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art opened its doors to the public in 1958 as one of the first museums of modern art worldwide—and still today, it houses some 4,000 works from painting to sculpture and architecture by renowned artists like Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and Giacometti, among others.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Located in Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter, this museum was founded in 1874 and is the Netherlands’ most significant contemporary art museum. The Stedelijk also has several annexes that house various collections, including design, modern art, and photography.

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam’s opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Monday Closed). Admission prices are €16 for adults and €13 for students, which includes admission to all of the other museums in the cultural district.

If you’re looking for something specific to see at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, perhaps check out their collection of works by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian or artist Marcel Broodthaers’ work “The Ephemeral Obviousness Of Being.” 

The museum also features a fantastic architecture designed by Gerrit Rietveld Jr., one of Rem Koolhaas’ teachers at Harvard University (more on him later). Check out their website here.

Mori Art Museum Tokyo

The Mori Art Museum is a contemporary art museum located in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. The museum was designed by architect Arata Isozaki and opened on May 20, 2001.

The museum’s collection features works from noted artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. It also includes work by pop artist Takashi Murakami (the museum’s founder), which has been displayed in a separate room since its opening day.

The Mori Art Museum is open from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m., and closed on Mondays unless it falls on a national holiday (in which case the following Tuesday will be closed instead). 

Admission costs: 

  • 1,800 yen for adults; 
  • 130 yen for children aged 6–12; 
  • 60 yen for children aged 0–5 years old; 
  • free entry for seniors older than 65 years old; 
  • free admission after 5 p.m.; 
  • discounted rates apply to groups of 20 or more people who purchase tickets together; 
  • group tickets must be booked at least three days in advance via email at [email protected]. 

It takes approximately 30 minutes via train from Shinjuku Station to Nogizaka Station or about 15 minutes via taxi cab (from Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station) or bus (from Shibuya Bus Center).

These museums are great for seeing contemporary art

  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City
  • Tate Modern in London

Conclusion

Contemporary art is a growing field. As the world becomes more interconnected, we see new forms of expression in traditional and digital industries. Whether you like your art traditional or modern, there’s something for everyone at these museums!