Contemporary art museums are pure symbols of current art that is being celebrated today.  Yet it’s so rare that you hear anyone speak out and support them in a real way.  So, let’s hear it for these great institutions.  Here are what I think are ten cool things about contemporary art museums.

1. ART NOW: Contemporary art museums give us the opportunity to bask in great art that has been created more often than not by living artists who are potentially bound for greatness.  We spend so much time in our society celebrating deceased, famous artists or other “artists” like actors and pop stars.  Nothing against them, but visual artists are the true artists.  They're unknown stars.  They can be found in cool contemporary art museums.

2. SPACE: If you like expansive, physical space like I do, but don’t necessarily want to be outdoors, just go visit an art museum.  The expansiveness of the spaces that go far beyond human scale help you to stretch your imagination and entertain thoughts of greater possibilities for your life. 

3DESIGN: Line, scale, form, material and color are all hallmarks of great architectural design.  Great contemporary art museums are so well designed that the structures themselves are actually art.  When you visit, bask not only in the art and installations, but notice the structure itself.  It rocks.

4. HIPSTER FACTOR: Nothing makes you feel cooler than visiting a contemporary art museum.  I think it has something to do with the timeliness of the art along with the building design and the often experimental vibe of the place.  More and more pop stars are connecting with contemporary art because they want to be considered "cool" and edgy in a way that only visual artists are cool … that's if being cool is a priority for you.

5. FORWARD THINKING: Contemporary art museums are so progressive.  What do I mean?  They’re places where people aren’t uptight or afraid to try new things.  They’re not obsessed with giving the appearance of being “normal” or “respectable.”  Both of these things are relative and subjective … within reason anyway.  You know what I mean.  I just think that in order to move forward, you sometimes have to step outside of your comfortable box.  This is what contemporary art museums – good ones anyway – encourage us all to do.

6. SNAPSHOT: Contemporary art museums give us fantastic snapshots and insights into what is currently happening in our societies and the world.  They create environments that are clinical enough to allow us to view ourselves with greater objectivity and insight.  We can’t really do this in a movie theater or in front of the television or while listening to music.  We need just enough formality to create separation between the subject – the art – and ourselves.  This gives us greater ability to consider what we’re seeing not only from our own unique point of view, but also in a larger context.

7. NO BOUNDARIES: Good contemporary art museums give us the opportunity to entertain what life might be like free of boundaries, labels and restrictions. I believe that this is one of the reasons why many people think contemporary art is strange or weird.  As I stated earlier, contemporary art challenges us to consider new things and think outside the box.

8. ADRENALIN: I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about museums that give me a shot of intellectual, emotional and spiritual adrenalin.  I leave them feeling energized, refreshed, smarter and like I’ve reconnected with my own spirit.  Try it.  You’ll see.

9. HERE AND NOW: When you visit a contemporary art museum in particular, you’re really acknowledging and celebrating the present.  Many spiritual leaders and psychologists argue that all we really have is the “here and now.”  If you believe this, why not join forces with the very institutions that practice this concept on a daily basis?  Look at the art, breathe deeply and bask in this fantastic moment.

10. SUPPORT LIVING ARTISTS: One of the greatest things about contemporary art museums is that they support and salute living artists who are working today.  You may not ever meet these artists (although many of them are here on ArtBookGuy), but by seeing their work, you’re supporting them in addition to promoting the idea that creativity and innovation are now more important than ever.


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