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Art & Culture

Discovering Art in Unexpected Places: A World Tour of Art Escapes

Drawing from Grace Banks decade-long career as a culture and arts journalist, Banks shares her firsthand experiences in exploring these exceptional art destinations, making it an inspiring read for both art enthusiasts and travelers.

Banks explains, “Whenever I’d visit a new place, I’d always look up the most remote, lesser-known piece of art in the area. From doing this, I found many incredible places… I kept thinking how this would make a great book so people could be inspired by the art and also to travel.”

In “Art Escapes,” readers will find an art atlas featuring over four dozen art escapes scattered across six continents. These escapes include sculptures, installations, murals, and light projections. While the book highlights well-known sites like the Instagram-famous Prada Marfa in Texas, Banks also introduces numerous hidden gems that stray off the beaten path. These unique locations celebrate the diversity of human creativity and the universal appeal of art.

Here are eight remarkable art destinations that are worth exploring:

1. Desert Breath (El Gouna, Egypt)

Artists Alexandra Stratou, Danae Stratou, and Stella Constantinides transformed the Sahara Desert into a one-million-square-foot artwork using sand. This colossal piece features a spiral pattern of sand hills with a 280,000-square-foot oasis at its center.

2. Tree of Utah (Tooele County, Utah)

Swedish artist Karl Momen created an 80-foot-tall sculpture in the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, inspired by the stark desert landscape. This concrete tree structure supports six colorful spheres adorned with native rocks and minerals.

3. Barolo Chapel (Piemonte, Italy)

Designed by American artist Sol LeWitt, the Barolo Chapel’s colorful facade stands out amidst the vineyards of the Umbrian countryside. LeWitt’s kaleidoscopic hues provide a captivating contrast to the surrounding landscape.

4. Las Pozas (Xilitla, Mexico)

Las Pozas, often called the “surrealist Xanadu,” is a surreal sculpture park located in a Mexican rainforest. Conceived by British poet Edward James, the park features a whimsical collection of structures, archways, staircases, and waterfalls, influenced by Surrealist art.

5. Yellow Pumpkin and Red Pumpkin (Naoshima, Japan)

Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s iconic polka-dotted pumpkins can be found on Naoshima Island. These vibrant sculptures have garnered widespread attention and delight social media users with their striking visuals.

6. Palais Idéal (Hauterives, France)

Ferdinand Cheval, a mail carrier, spent 33 years constructing Palais Idéal from found objects, sandstone, and shells. This surreal palace, located in the French countryside, is a testament to imaginative artistry.

7. teamLAB Planets and Acorn Forest (Tokyo, Japan)

teamLAB, a Japanese art collective, employs digital technology to create immersive art experiences in Tokyo. Exhibits like “Planets” and “Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest” transport visitors to otherworldly realms through projections and lighting design.

8. Brim Silo Art Trail (Tungamah, Australia)

Australian muralist Guido van Helten initiated an art transformation of 98-foot GrainCorp silos, hand-painting portraits of farmers. This rural art trail showcases the work of various artists and has become a celebrated art destination in Victoria, Australia.

“Art Escapes” encourages readers to explore these unconventional art destinations, transcending geographical boundaries to experience the universality of artistic expression.

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