The galleries of Mayfair, in London, and Chelsea, in New York, quieten down over the summer, and often close for a few weeks. Yet, there’s still great art to be seen outside the big cities, much of it in beautiful city-break locations.
Two hours outside the British capital, but a world away from Cork Street, lies Durslade Farm in Bruton, Somerset, the site of Hauser and Wirth’s rural British outpost. The Swiss gallerist couple Manuela Hauser and Iwan Wirth originally came to the British countryside in search of a weekend retreat but ended up establishing this surprisingly successful fine-art outpost. This summer, the gallery is showing works from the collection of Ursula Hauser (Manuela’s mother, and a well- respected artworld figure in her own right). Look out for strong pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Meret Oppenheim, and Sylvia Sleigh, among others.
Is that a little too far from London? Then try the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens at Perry Green. This was where the 20th-century British sculptor worked from 1940 – after a bomb hit his London home – through to his death at the age of 88 in 1986. The Henry Moore Foundation runs Perry Green, and displays a permanent collection of the artist’s work, as well as temporary shows. This summer, they’ve put together a display of Moore’s drawings.
In the US, a two-hour drive from Manhattan gets you to the Dia:Beacon, a huge art complex on the eastern bank of the Hudson, where some of America’s greatest and most challenging artists have managed to realise their larger scale works. The buildings once housed a box-making factory for the US food company Nabisco, but almost no work here fits inside any box. Come here for big works by big-name 20th-century artists such as Warhol, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin.
Meanwhile, a similar distance north of New York City, but on the Hudson’s western bank lies the Storm King Art Center, an equally ambitious institution, where the large-scale sculptural works are set in a beautiful, 500-acre sculpture park. Come here for the Richard Serra and Alexander Calder works, but stay to gain a deeper connection with nature, too.
And, if summer hiking is your thing, you might also want to consider the Swiss Alps. Hauser and Wirth also have an outpost in the Swiss resort town of St. Moritz, which this summer is hosting an all-female group show, Material Actions. And it’s not too far from the New York dealer Vito Schnabel St Moritz gallery. This summer, Vito is showing works by the Californian sculptor Helen Pashgian, an under-recognised proponent of the West Coast’s trippy, abstract, plastic, poppy movement, Light and Space. The Swiss mountains might be an odd place to feel the California sunshine, but it’s certainly better than being stuck in the city.
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Photography by John Chase