Best in Show: Art to See This Summer
Need a dose of culture with your city break? Nikki Ridgway highlights five of the most buzzed-about summer art events in New York, Madrid, Chicago, Kassel and London, and where to bed down in each destination.
THE SHOW After runs in Madrid, Paris and London, the Yayoi Kusama retrospective opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art on July 12. With works spanning the six-decade career of Japan’s most prolific artist, expect the avant-garde artist’s signature Infinity Net paintings and polka dot–covered spaces. Go now for a sneak peek of the Fireflies on the Water installation on the ground floor.
THE SLEEP Have a New York moment at the Chanel-inspired Surrey Hotel between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Dine with the power players at Café Boulud, head to the rooftop for Central Park views or admire the 30 original artworks hung around the hotel.
THE SHOW Home to the largest collection of works by Edward Hopper outside the United States, Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum unveiled its three-month Hopper exhibition (in collaboration with Réunion des Musées Nationaux de France in Paris) on June 12. Presented in two parts, the exhibition focuses on the iconic American artist’s formative years (1900 - 1924) and the hyper-real style of his mature works.
THE SLEEP Less than a two-minute walk away down Paseo del Prado, the Hotel Ritz Madrid is the city’s grandest dame, with acres of marble, antique furnishings and a refined Old World glamour.
THE SHOW The first true retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein since the Pop art master’s death in 1997, the Art Institute of Chicago showcases the cartoons and landscapes of his early career, and the signature primary-color Pop works for which he is today synonymous. On show until September 3.
THE SLEEP A 20-minute walk away, the James Chicago is an art-inspired stay just off the Magnificent Mile. The lobby houses rotating displays of contemporary art as well as the hip JBar, and chef David Burke is behind the hotel’s popular steak restaurant, Primehouse.
THE SHOW Every five years the art world’s cognoscenti flock to the German city of Kassel for dOCUMENTA, an exhibition of very contemporary art. Now in its 13th year, the lectures, performances, readings and viewings could easily fill a week’s calendar, but don’t miss displays by crowd-pleasers Tino Sehgal and Pierre Huyghe, and, for respite from all the heady conceptualism, the Greco-Roman masterpieces in the 18th-century Wilhelmshöhe Palace.
THE SLEEP Bookend your trip with a stay in Germany’s hub city of Frankfurt, around two hours away. Roomers is the city’s hippest sleep, with a moody modern style, a top-floor spa and all the sights within walking distance.
THE SHOW The Olympics aren’t the only attraction in town this summer — London’s museums are capitalizing on the influx of tourists with a series of blockbuster art exhibitions. Our pick? Damien Hirst at Tate Modern, a 20-year retrospective of the bad boy’s mortality-obsessed work, include a redo of his shark in formaldehyde, a room of live butterflies, that diamond-encrusted skull and enough spot paintings to send you dotty.
THE SLEEP On the north bank of the Thames, a 20-minute bus ride from the Tate, One Aldwych has contemporary cool rooms, a swimming pool, art and floral arrangements everywhere, and one of the best concierges in London.