The best books about Destination Art

Who am I?

I am an art historian and the author of various books about modern art, including Styles, Schools & Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art and three editions of Destination Art. I coined the phrase ‘Destination Art’ in order to discuss artworks in which location is an integral ingredient, as is the journey to find them. I had noticed projects like these happening all over the world, but often in a quiet way. They needed someone to shine the light on them – so I did! My goal is to educate, enthuse and excite – and to continue my mission of spreading the word about intriguing and inspiring art projects. 

I wrote...

Destination Art: Art Essentials

By Amy Dempsey,

Book cover of Destination Art: Art Essentials

What is my book about?

Fancy a tour of art and nature installations on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily? A visit to Britain’s first quarry sculpture park where you can also learn to carve stone on-site?  How about sculpture and classical music on a working cattle ranch in Montana? Or a swim off the coast of Norway into an underwater sculpture park? These are but a few of the unique creative destinations you can find in Destination Art, whether you are an intrepid art explorer or an armchair traveller. 

The journey to the sites is often part of the thrill, with artworks to be found in deserts, forests, rivers, and seas, on farmland and mountains, and in ghost towns, nature reserves, former industrial sites, quarries, and monasteries. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip Through the Land Art of the American West

Why did I love this book?

This is Hogan’s account of her road trip in search of famous, almost mythical, land art pieces, such as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels. Travelling on her own she found some of the artworks – and a lot out about herself. Brave? Foolish? Probably both. But for the reader, certainly an entertaining and informative chronicle of her travels and discoveries.

By Erin Hogan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spiral Jetta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Erin Hogan hit the road in her Volkswagen Jetta and headed west from Chicago in search of the monuments of American land art: a salty coil of rocks, four hundred stainless steel poles, a gash in a mesa, four concrete tubes, and military sheds filled with cubes. Her journey took her through the states of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. It also took her through the states of anxiety, drunkenness, disorientation, and heat exhaustion. "Spiral Jetta" is a chronicle of this journey. A lapsed art historian and devoted urbanite, Hogan initially sought firsthand experience of the monumental earthworks…

Book cover of Sculpture Parks in Europe: A Guide to Art and Nature

Why did I love this book?

Both reference book and travel guide, this second edition includes over 90 sculpture parks in 27 European countries. The parks featured are those that have an ‘art and nature’ element, in which artists collaborate with nature, working in and with nature to create artworks and situations that help us think about and enjoy both. One to take with you on your next trip around Europe!

By Raul Rispa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sculpture Parks in Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is a continually increasing interest in parks and gardens in which modern sculptures and nature form a special symbiosis. Landscapes are an inspiring ambiance for works of art, which in turn add something to the parks and gardens, thus creating a very unique interaction between art and nature.

This guide is the second edition and presents more than 90 parks in 27 European countries, now also including Finland, Hungary, and Poland among others. The parks presented include classics such as the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek, as well as spectacular new schemes such as…

Book cover of Outdoor Art: Extraordinary Sculpture Parks and Art in Nature

Why did I love this book?

This is a beautiful coffee table book to read at home rather than take on your travels. Langen explores 25 private sculpture parks founded by individuals, most art collectors or artists. She weaves in the stories of these characters as their passions inform the themes of the collections. Note that not all of the sites that Langen visited are open to the public.

By Silvia Langen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Outdoor Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Edward James's surreal sculpture garden Las Pozas in Mexico to Anselm Kiefer's sprawling studio complex in the French countryside, artists and art collectors are creating outdoor spaces in order to display sculpture and art that is both transformative and powerful. This book is filled with breathtaking photographs of 25 of these spaces from throughout the world - many of which are not open to the public. Captured in brilliant colour, these spaces are populated by works that both enhance and are enhanced by the landscape: rolling hills, mountain lakes, shaded canyons and empty deserts. Readers will discover Anish Kapoor's…

Book cover of The Pursuit of Art: Travels, Encounters and Revelations

Why did I love this book?

Art critic Gayford’s engaging and entertaining essays recount his adventures over the years when meeting artists and visiting destination art sites around the world, such as Brancusi’s Endless Column in Romania and the Chinati Foundation in Texas. A great storyteller, his writing is both chatty and informative and the book is a pleasure to read.

By Martin Gayford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pursuit of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bestselling author of Modernists & Mavericks Martin Gayford recounts some of the extraordinary journeys he has made in the name of art.

In the course of a career thinking and writing about art, Martin Gayford has travelled all over the world both to see works of art and to meet artists. Gayford's journeys, often to fairly inaccessible places, involve frustrations and complications, but also serendipitous encounters and outcomes, which he makes as much a part of the story as the final destination. Entertaining and informative, Gayford includes trips to see Brancusi's Endless Column in Romania, prehistoric cave art in France,…

Book cover of Amazing Art Adventures: Around the World in 400 Immersive Experiences

Why did I love this book?

Zappaterra presents creative places around the world in which to experience culture. Her selection includes unexpected locations and outdoor spaces as well as art museums and galleries. She has also included some interesting trails to draw out specific themes or artists. Lots to intrigue and inspire a visit or further research!

By Yolanda Zappaterra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amazing Art Adventures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover hundreds of the most interesting and memorable art experiences from around the world!

Amazing Art Adventures offers us art and culture as an experience both within and beyond the gallery, opening a door to unexpected adventures
- art fairs, festivals, installations, art trails, galleries, art islands, monuments, sculpture parks and museums.

Aimed at all of us who travel to learn about new places and cultures, the book gathers together hundreds of unforgettable art experiences around the world, acting as an inspirational travel guide for anyone interested in art. From the Lightning Field in New Mexico to an art island…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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