Tag Archives: Art

Don’t Wait for the Louvre

An ordinary day at the Louvre. Photo Guia Besana for The New York Times

One cloudy afternoon this month, the line to enter the Louvre stretched around the entrance pyramid, across one long courtyard and into the next,” according to yesterday’s New York Times article about the ever increasing crowds at premier art museums. Scenes like that are why we regretfully decided not to revisit the Louvre on our most recent trip to Paris.

The Times focuses mostly on worries that such large crowds may start damaging the artwork. It goes without saying that these crowds also routinely ruin what is supposed to be a peaceful and contemplative experience for visitors. But they don’t have to. There are ways to beat the crowds.

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Fireplaces of the Phillips

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It wasn’t until our third visit to Washington, D.C., that we made it to the Phillips Collection, a gem largely overshadowed by the city’s larger Smithsonian museums. This time, though, “America’s first modern art museum” was a mere five-minute walk from our Dupont Circle apartment, making it an easy place to spend an afternoon.

Seeing the collection reminded me that modern art doesn’t always mean contemporary. The term modern actually covers a period extending over one hundred years and is broad enough to include such giants as van Gogh and Monet.

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Delightfully Offbeat di Rosa

DiRosa Museum, Napa California

A chair whimsically perched on stilts sits on the edge of Winery Lake, one of some 2,000 works of art at the di Rosa. Tucked among the vineyards in the Napa Valley, the collection is considered the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world.

A visit to the di Rosa is not a traditional museum-going experience. Guided tours—the only way to see the full collection—combine indoor and outdoor viewing in various areas of the property, once home to vintners and art enthusiasts Rene and Veronica di Rosa, the collection’s founders. The eclectic assortment features everything from painting and sculpture to ceramics and video, created from the 1960s to the present.

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Wine Country Beyond Wine

Bar Closed Sign

Sticker shock greeted us on our third and most recent visit to the Napa Valley. We remember when tasting rooms were economical places to discover wine. These days they can quickly become a budget buster, with tastings running about $20 a pop for a few thin pours. Now it’s often cheaper to bypass the samplings altogether and just buy a bottle instead.

The good news is that California wine country isn’t exclusively about the wine. Many vineyards are also competing for tourist attention by building lavish grounds and offering other attractions that are often completely gratis.

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Artful L.A.

The Getty Center

The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA

L.A. museums get a bum wrap. While researching things to do there, I noticed message board commenters often recommended that out-of-towners take in the city’s museums before immediately adding a caveat. Almost by way of apology, it seemed, they would note that the museums were worth a visit “but” weren’t as impressive as those in other cities like New York.

While it’s true that many museums fall short in a head-to-head with New York’s legendary Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles has plenty to offer art lovers. Here are three museums well worth a visit…on their own merit. And in addition to impressive artwork, both the Getty Villa and the Getty Center have an added bonus that Manhattan museums do not: Pacific Ocean views.

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