Where the Art World Is Traveling to This Year
After lockdowns and travel bans, art-world luminaries are planning to go to Uganda, Beijing, Japan, and more
After more than a year of lockdowns and worldwide travel bans, a group of art-world luminaries, including Kulapat Yantrasast, Alexandre Assouline, and Mariane Ibrahim, reveal where they are eager to visit first.
“I have dreamed about Bangkok, the hometown I left 30 years ago, so much during quarantine. Like other great Asian cities, it has the resilience to evolve and continually transform. My team is working on a few art projects there, and I find the contemporary art community so inspiring. It will be a delight to see our artist and curator friends again. My home away from home is the Sukhothai hotel on Sathorn Road, and I always end up at Thai Home Industries, an amazing store committed to sustaining local art and crafts. The food scene is among the best in the world, and if my parents allow me to have dinners outside our home, I love to go to Bo.lan or Nahm, two of the most inspiring places to enjoy Thai cusine in a refreshed way. And you will always find me at the Bamboo Bar, a grand old jazz bar in the Mandarin Oriental, for old time’s sake. As they’d say, you can take a boy out of Bangkok but Bangkok will always stay with you!” —Kulapat Yantrasast, founder and creative director, wHY
2. Kerala, India
“I am looking forward to going back to Kalari Kovilakom, a former palace turned Ayurvedic hospital in the middle of a small village in Kerala, India. It is a place of self-healing with more than 2,000 years of medicinal knowledge. It is modest in its constitution, and comfortably hidden within the small village. When there, one eats only half a handful of delicately prepared southern Indian vegetarian fare, all orchestrated to your specific dosha—your elemental and psychological being. Once you enter the hospital, you’re not allowed to leave the grounds until the course of your treatment is completed, but it is an imprisonment that frees one’s soul and mind. Go there lightly, as you are asked to shed your belongings at the door, and a set of white cotton garments and slippers are issued for the duration of the stay. I have only been in room 17 and insist on that particular room each time I have visited. Certain evenings, after dinner, a troupe of musicians and performers would come in from different villages surrounding the hospital, traditional songs, instruments and dances, are introduced and performed, while they educate us on the traditions and history. Do the Panchakarma, 28 days of self-realignment—best during the monsoon months.” —Rirkrit Tiravanija, artist
“Right before the lockdown, I had planned to spend six months in China, and I have been eagerly and impatiently waiting to get there ever since. Beijing and Shanghai will be my first stops, but Xi’an, Shenzhen, and Chengdu are also of much interest to me. I find these cities to be very private, and even with the proliferation of travel images on social media, I rarely see the ins and outs of those cities. In preparation, I have been taking daily Mandarin classes and reading detective novels that take place there. I am so inspired by the distinct way of life and the strongly developed sense of culture. We’ve also been working on two new books focused on the art and culture of China, Forbidden City: The Palace at the Heart of Chinese Culture and Chinese Art: The Impossible Collection. They are part of our Ultimate collection and each has deeply reinforced my curiosity.”—Alexandre Assouline, global vice president, Assouline
4. Kampala, Uganda
“I will be going to Kampala in Uganda. It will be my first time visiting, and it is a destination that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. Ian Mwesiga, one of my artists, is based there. Just before COVID-19 hit, I had planned a trip to meet him. After fostering my relationship with Ian virtually, I’m so eager to see his works in the studio and to be encompassed in his environment and world, which have so influenced his practice. His studio overlooks Lake Victoria, and every Zoom call starts with that stunning view.”—Mariane Ibrahim, gallerist
5. Los Angeles
“The last significant trip I made was for Frieze Los Angeles in February 2020, and it was such a magical week, the memory of which kept me going for some time after we were all grounded a year ago. I like to stay in the Edition hotel, which has beautiful rooms designed by John Pawson with fantastic views over West Hollywood. L.A. has such a rich art scene, with so many extraordinary museums, galleries, and artists. I would love to go back this summer and see ‘Made in L.A.’ at the Hammer Museum, an exciting showcase of 30 local artists.”—Victoria Siddall, board director, Frieze
6. Odawara, Japan
“I would love to go back to Enoura, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s observatory near Tokyo. Although Sugimoto is best known for his exquisite black-and-white photographs of seascapes around the world, he’s also a designer, and this place is a distillation of all of his interests. Enoura is a distillation of all of Sugimoto’s interests in sculptural form and the landscape, which is highlighted at different times of the year, such as at sunrise during the winter solstice. The architecture of Enoura sits against a mountain overlooking the ocean. He has created a series of overlooks that provide a frame, allowing you to view the ocean with greater attention. In essence, he creates an active, live seascape in contrast to his still and static black and white photographs. Sugimoto, whom we invited to redesign the Hirshhorn’s sculpture garden in Washington, D.C., collaborated with local master stonemasons to create beautiful stacked stone walls, a universal architectural element dating back centuries that lives on in Japan. At the Hirshhorn, his design includes a number of stone stacked walls as a backdrop for our modern sculpture collection.”—Melissa Chiu, director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
7. Shelter Island, New York
“I am constantly inspired by the beauty and calm of Shelter Island. The moment I step onto the ferry and smell the salty air, I feel a great sense of lightness and relief. About a third of the island is occupied by the Mashomack Preserve, and the six-mile walk over woods, grasslands, and the beach is my favorite way to unwind. Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, a former slaveholding plantation, has opened up much of its 235-acre site for visitors and is committed to teaching about the history of slavery and racial injustice. It includes a working farm, CSA, and local produce stands. The Perlman Music Program, a summer music school founded by the great violinist Itzhak Perlman, offers weekly concerts throughout the season. Many artists on the island also open their studios every summer for visitors.”—Alissa Friedman, partner and senior director, Salon 94
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Summer Issue under the headline “Flights of Fancy.” Subscribe to the magazine.