Six Art Galleries in Unexpected Places | Travel – Smithsonian

December 19, 2021 by No Comments

The Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan is an art museum housed in a former factory of train parts and farm equipment.
Photo by Piero Cruciatti/AFP via Getty Images

When the functions of our built environment are no longer needed, buildings often sit empty or get torn down. So it’s refreshing when visionaries give abandoned architecture new life. These six art galleries and museums around the world are located inside unexpected infrastructure, with paintings and installations gracing spots like a former train factory or an empty water cistern.

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern (Houston, Texas)

Every two years, a new installation is staged at Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, where visitors descend into a 1926 underground drinking water cistern to see spectacular art lighting up the walls. Multimedia artist Anri Sala’s immersive sound and film experience titled “Time No Longer” is currently on view. Exhibitions fill up the entire space—all 87,500 square feet of it, braced with 221 columns.

“It’s really an ambitious public art program itself, just because everything we do in there has to take up a very large space,” says Karen Farber, vice president of external affairs at the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the organization that owns the cistern. “But it’s also a dream for any artist to be able to go in there and create something totally original for that space.”

The cistern was decommissioned in 2007 after an irreparable leak was discovered. The city of Houston was looking for someone to demolish it in 2010, when the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a nonprofit group dedicated to revitalizing the 10-square-mile Buffalo Bayou area of the city, came across the site. The art program is curated, rather than open call, and every installation is site-specific, meant to play off the size and reverberation of the space with visuals and audio. Buffalo Bayou Partnership keeps about a foot-and-a-half of water in the bottom of the cistern. Visitors follow a walkway wrapped around the edge of the cistern, near the top of the 25-foot-tall columns. “It creates this incredible reflective surface because the water is absolutely still and glassy,” says Farber. “It looks like an infinite space.” In addition to the art program, the Partnership hosts history tours of the space and sound healing meditation sessions.

Feuerle Collection (Berlin, Germany)

The Feuerle Collection in Berlin houses early Imperial Chinese furniture dating from 200 B.C.E. to the 17th century, Khmer sculptures from the 7th century, and pieces by a handful of international contemporary artists—all tucked inside a former World War II bunker. It’s …….



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